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Secretary Southern Historical Society, 



V.W1 & 4 Main Street, Richmond. 



,t J. William Jones 

GE o. W Gaby, 

Richmond, va 














If any apology were needed for this volume, it could be found 
in the frequently expressed desire of comrades in different sec- 
tions of the country to possess in permanent form the matter 
herein contained, and in the unanimous and hearty vote by which, 
at its annual reunion in October, 1878, the Virginia Division, 
Army of Northern Virginia Association, requested me to pre- 
pare it. f 

The addresses will be found very important contributions to 
the material for a future history of the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia; and it is hoped that the Roster and Statement of Relative 
Numbers will be found of interest and value. 

The volume has been delayed by circumstances over which I 
had no control, but I feel sure that subscribers will consider the 
delay amply atoned for in its enabling me to add to the matter 
originally promised General Fitz. Lee's address on Chancellors- 

The book is sent forth in the full confidence that it will prove 
an acceptable offering to those who prize the honor of belonging 
to the Army of Northern Virginia, to our brothers of the other 
armies of the Confederacy, to friends of our cause everywhere, 
and even to brave men who fought against us but are willing to 
admit that the)' had "foemen worthy of their steel." •> 

J- w J- 
Richmond, Virginia, December 1st, 1879. 



Lee Memorial Meeting, November 3d, 1870 9 

Call and Organization 9-10 

Remarks of General Early 10 

Address of President Davis 14 

Memorial Resolutions IS 

Address of Colonel C. S. Venable 19 

Address of General John S. Preston , :. 21 

Address of General John B. Gordon 22 

Address of Colonel Charles Marshall 27 

Address of General Henry A. Wise 30 

Address of Colonel William Preston Johnston 32 

Address of Colonel Robert E. Withers , 35 

List of Officers Elected 37 

Army Meeting, November 4th, 1S70 38 

Remarks of General Early 38 

Committees and Permanent Organization 42-3 

Remarks of General B. T. Johnson 44 

Remarks of General Early 46 

Officers Elected 48 

Third Annual Meeting of Virginia Division of the Army of 

Northern Virginia Association 49 

Address of Colonel C. S. Venable on Campaign from the Wilderness 
to Cold Harbor 49 

Fourth Annual Reunion (19 

Address of Colonel Charles Marshall on the Strategic Value of Rich- 
mond 69 

The Banquet 89 

Fifth Annual Reunion 90 

Address of Major John W Daniel on Gettysburg 90 

The Banquet 126 

Sixth Annual Reunion.. 127 

Address of Captain W Gordon McCafoc on the Defence of Peters- 
burg 127 

The Banquet 17~> 


Seventh Annual Reunion 176 

Address of Private Leigh Robinson on "The Wilderness" 176 

The Banquet 260 

Eighth Annual Reunion 261 

Address of Colonel William Allan on Jackson's Valley Campaign... 261 

The Banquet 290 

Speech of Hon. A. M. Keiley on "The Model Infantryman" 290 

Ninth Annual Reunion 293 

Address of General Fitzhugh Lee on Chancellorsville 293 

The Banquet 333 

Roster of the Army of Northern Virginia 334 

. Seven Days' Battles 334 

June 1st, 1SG3 333 

Relative Numbers of the Army of Northern Virginia and 

the Army of the Potomac 343 

At Seven Days' Battles 343 

At Second Manassas 3-14 

At Sharpsburg or •'Antietam*' 344 

At Fredericksburg , 345 

At Chancellorsville 345 

At Gettysburg...'. 346 

In Campaign of 18G4 : 346 

Just Before the Fall of Petersburg 347 

At Appomattox Courthouse 347 


On the 25th day of October, 1870, the following address ap- 
peared in the public prints : 

To the Surviving Officers and Soldiers of the Army of Northern 
J Irginia : 

Comrades — The sad tidings of the death of our Great Com- 
mander came at a time when, by the interruption of all the ordi- 
nary modes of traveling, very many of us were debarred the 
privilege of participating in the funeral ceremonies attending the 
burial of him we loved sq well, or, by concerted action, of giving 
expression to our feelings on the occasion. While the unburied 
remains of the illustrious hero were yet under the affectionate 
care of friends who were bowed down with a sorrow unutterable, 
the hoarse cry of "treason" was croaked from certain quarters, 
for the vile but abortive purpose of casting a stigma upon his 
pure and exalted character. His fame belongs to the world, and 
to history, and is beyond the reach of malignity; but a sacred 
duty devolves upon those whom, in defence of a cause he be- 
lieved to be just and to which he remained true to the latest 
moment of his life, he led so often to battle, and for whom he 
ever cherished the most affectionate regard. We owe it to our 
fallen comrades, to ourselves and to posterity, by some suitable 
and lasting memorial, to manifest to the world, for all time to 
come, that we were not unworthy to be led by our immortal 
Chief, and that we are not now ashamed of the principles for 
which Lee fought and Jackson died. 

Already steps have been taken by some Confederate officers 
and soldiers, assembled at Lexington, the place of General Lee s 
death and burial, to inaugurate a memorial association; and being, 
as I believe, the senior in rank of all officers of the Army of 
Northern Virginia now living in the State, I respectfully suggest 
and invite a conference at Richmond, on Thursday, the $d day 
of November next, of all the survivors of that army, whether 
officers or privates, and in whatever State they may live, who can 
conveniently attend, for the purpose of procuring concert of 
action in regard to the proceeding contemplated. I would also 
invite to that conference the surviving officers and soldiers of 


all the other Confederate armies, as well as the officers, sailors 
and marines of the Confederate navy. 

This call would have been made sooner but for my absence up 
to this time in a county where there are no railroads or tele- 
graphs, and where I was detained by imperative duties. 
Your friend and late fellow soldier, 

J. A. Early. 
Lynchburg, Va., October 24, 1870. 

Pursuant to this call, the soldiers and sailors of the Confede- 
rate States met to do honor to the memory of their great chief- 
tain, General Robert Edward Lee, in the First Presbyterian 
Church, in the city of Richmond, on Thursday evening, the 3d 
day of November, A. D. 1870. 

The meeting was called to order by Brigadier-General Bradley 
T. Johnson, on whose motion Lieutenant-General Jubal A. Early 
was appointed temporary chairman, and Captain George Walker, 
of Westmoreland, Captain Campbell Lawson, of Richmond, and 
Sergeant George L. Christian, of Richmond, temporary secre- 

General Early, on taking the Chair, delivered an appropriate 

address of general early. 

Friends and Comrades — When the information of the death of 
our illustrious Commander was flashed over the telegraphic wires 
to all parts of the civilized world, good men everywhere mourned 
the loss of him who, in life, was the noblest exemplar of his 
times of all that is good, and true, and great in human nature; 
and a cry of anguish was wrung from the hearts of all true Con- 
federate soldiers, which was equalled only by that which came 
up from the same hearts when the fact was realized that the 
sword of Robert E. Lee was sheathed forever, and that the 
banner to which his deeds had given such lustre was furled amid 
gloom and disaster. After the first burst of grief had subsided, 
the inquiry arose in the breasts of all, What can we do to mani- 
fest our esteem and veneration for him we loved so well? It was 
but necessary that the suggestion should be made to elicit an 
expression of the general sentiment. I thought that I could 
take the liberty of making that suggestion to my old comrades, 
and I therefore made the call under which you are here assembled. 
Although I made that call as the former senior in rank of all the 
officers of the Army of Northern Virginia now living in the State, 
I desire to say to you that at the tomb of General Lee all dis- 
tinctions of rank cease. The private soldier who, in tattered 


uniform and with sore and bleeding feet, followed the banner 
upheld by Lee and Jackson, and did not desert his post or skulk 
in the hour of danger, but did his duty faithfully to the end of 
the war, and is now doing his duty by remaining true to the 
principles for which he fought, is the peer of the most renowned 
in fame or exalted in rank among the survivors. He has an 
equal share in the proud heritage left us in the memory of the 
glorious deeds and exalted virtues of our great Chieftain. All 
such I greet and welcome here, as I do those of every rank, 
claiming them all as my friends, comrades and brothers. 

My friends, if it is expected that I shall on this occasion de- 
liver a eulogy on General Lee, you will be disappointed. I have 
not the language with which to give expression to my estimate 
of the greatness and goodness of his character. I will say, how- 
ever, that as extended as is his fame, the world at large has not 
fully appreciated the transcendant abilities of General Lee, nor 
realized the perfection of his character. No one who has not 
witnessed the affectionate kindness and gentleness, and often play- 
fulness, of his manners in private, his great self-control and dig- 
nity in dealing with important public affairs, the exhibition of 
his high and unyielding sense of duty on all occasions, and the 
majestic grandeur of his action and appearance in the shock of 
battle, can form more than an approximate estimate of his real 

Monuments of marble or bronze can add nothing; to the fame 
of General Lee, and to perpetuate it it is not necessary that 
such should be erected. But the student of history in future 
ages who shall read of the deeds and virtues of our immortal 
hero, will be lost in amazement at the fact that such a man went 
down to his grave a disfranchised citizen by the edict of his 
cotemporarics — which infamous edict, by the fiat of an inexorable 
despotism, has been forced to be recorded on the statute book of 
his native State. We, my comrades, owe it to our own characters, 
at least, to vindicate our manhood and purge ourselves of the 
foul stain, by erecting an enduring monument to him, that will 
be a standing protest, for all time to come, against the righteous- 
ness of the judgment pronounced against him, without arraign- 
ment, without trial, without evidence, and against truth and jus- 
tice. The exact locality of that monument I do not now propose 
to suggest. When we are in a condition to erect it, it will, in 
my opinion, be the proper time to settle definitely its locality; 
and I merely say now that it should be where it will be accessi- 
ble to all his boys and their descendants. 

Something has been suggested with regard to the resting place 
of all that was mortal of our beloved commander. This is a 


question, at this time, solely for the determination of the imme- 
diate family of General Lee. Let us respect the feelings of 
those who have sustained so terrible a bereavement. I am sure 
that the soldiers who followed him through such dreadful trials 
will have regard for the wishes of that noble Virginia matron, 
who, being allied to Washington, has been through life the 
cherished bosom companion of Lee. 

Comrades, I am more than gratified at the fact that the great 
statesman and pure patriot who presided over the destinies of the 
Confederate States — who selected General Lee to lead her armies 
and gave him his entire confidence throughout all his glorious 
career — is here to mingle his grief with ours, and to join in pay- 
ing tribute to the memory of him we mourn. 

The Rev. Charles Minnigerode, D. D., Rector of Saint Paul's 
Church, Richmond, then made a fervent and appropriate prayer. 

General Bradley T. Johnson moved the appointment of Com- 
mittees on Permanent Organization and Resolutions; whereupon 
the Chair appointed the following: 


General William Terry, Chairman Bedford. 

Major Robert Stiles Kiehirond. 

Sergeant J. Van Lew McL'reery Richmond. 

Corporal William C. Kean, Jr Louisa. 

Lieutenant John E. Roller Rockingham. 

Lieutenant Henry C. Carter Richmond. 

General George E. Pickett Richmond. 

General -Iohn R. Cooke King William. 

General Harry Heth Baltimore. 

Colonel Thomas H. Carter King William. 

Colonel H. P. Jones Hanover. 

Private W H. Effinger Rockingham. 

Captain James William Foster Leesburg. 

Colonel Thomas L. Preston Albemarle. 

General William H. Payne Fauquier. 

Colonel Robert S. Preston Montgomery. 

Captain W C. Nicholas Maryland. 

Colonel William Allan Lexington. 

Private Abeam Warwick Richmond. 

Major A. R. Venable Prince Edward. 

Lieutenant Samuel Wilson Surry. 

Major Robert W Hunter Winchester. 

Lieutenant James Pollard King William. 

Colonel William Nelson Hanover. 

Captain R. D. Minor Richmond. 

General James H. Lane North Carolina. 

Colonel W W Gordon New Kent. 

Hon. William Welsh Kent county, Md. 

Captain J. L. Clarke Baltimore. 



Colonel S. Tenable. Chairman Albemarle. 

Hon. K. T. Banks Baltimore. 

Major John W Daniel Lynchburg. 

Lieutenant Richard H. Christian Richmond. 

Major William H. Caskie Richmond. 

General Ben. Huger Fauquier. 

General William Mahone Petersburg. 

General L. L. Lomax Fauquier. 

George H. Pagels, Esq Baltimore. 

Colonel Edmund Pendleton Botetourt. 

Private John A. Elder Richmond. 

Commodore Matthew F. Maury Lexington. 

General George H. Steuart Baltimore. 

General C. W Field Virginia. 

General AV S. Walker Georgia. 

Sergeant Leroy S. Edwards Richmond. 

Lieutenant S. V. Southall ...Albemarle. 

Captain J. M. Hudgins Caroline- 
Colonel William E. Cameron Petersburg. 

Colonel William Watts Roanoke. 

General Harry Heth Baltimore. 

General William B. Taliaferro Gloucester. 

General Samuel Jones Amelia. 

Private John B. Mordecai Henrico. 

Captain J. McHenry Howard Baltimore. 

Captain E. Griswold Baltimore. 

Lieutenant R. G. Jones Alleghany Co., Md. 

After an absence of a few minutes the Committee on Perma- 
nent Organization, through their chairman, General Terry, made 
the following report, which was unanimously adopted, amidst 
great applause: 

For President — Hon. Jefferson Davis. 
For Vice-Presidents — 

Major-General John B. Gordon. Major-General Fitz. Lee. 

Major-General Edward Johnson. Colonel Hexry Peyton. 

Major-General I. R. Trimble. Colonel J. L. French. 

Major-General W B. Taliaferro. Colonel Robert E. Withers. 

Brig. -General VVji. X Pendleton. Major William N. Berkeley. 

Major-General William Smith. Colonel William Willis. 

Brigadier-General J. D. Imroden. Colonel Wm. Preston Johnston. 

Colonel Charles Marshall. Captain Mann Page. 

Colonel Walter FT. Taylor. Corporal William C. Kean. 

Colonel W K. 1'errin. Private Koiiert Martin. 

Colonel Peyton X Wise. Private G. Hough. 

General M. Ranson. Private G. Elder. 

Captain Rnr.r.KT Pegram. Sergeant W Wirt Robinson. 

General L. L. Lomax. 

For Secretaries — 

Captain E. S. Gregory Private Arner Anderson. 

Sergeant Ceorce L. Christian. Captain Thomas D Houston. 

Captain ('. (J. Lawson. Captain George Walker. 

Sergeant James P Cowardin. Major William B. Myers. 

Captain W A. ANDERSON, 


Mr. Davis' advance to the chair was hailed with a burst of 
irrepressible enthusiasm — he was cheered to the echo — and his 
address enchained every eye and thrilled every heart in the 
audience from the outset to the end. 


Soldiers and Sailors of the Confederacy, Countrymen and 
Friends — Assembled on this sad occasion, with hearts oppressed 
with the grief that follows the loss of him who was our leader 
on many a bloody battlefield, there is a melancholy pleasure in. 
the spectacle which is presented. Hitherto men have been hon- 
ored when successful; but here is the case of one who amid 
disaster went down to his grave, and those who were his com- 
panions in misfortune have assembled to honor his memory. It 
is as much an honor to you who give as to him who receives, for 
above the vulgar test of merit you show yourselves competent 
to discriminate between him who enjoys and him who deserves 

Robert E. Lee was my associate and friend in the Military 
Academy, and we were friends until the hour of his death. We 
were associates and friends when he was a soldier and I a con- 
gressman, and associates and friends when he led the armies of 
the Confederacy and I held civil office; and therefore I may claim 
to speak as one who knew him. In the many sad scenes and 
perilous circumstances through which we passed together, our 
conferences were frequent and full; yet never was there an occa- 
sion on which there was not entire harmony of purpose and 
accordance as to means. If ever there was difference of opinion, 
it was dissipated by discussion, and harmony was the result. I 
repeat, we never disagreed, and I may add that I never saw in l 
him the slightest tendency to self-seeking. It was not his to 
make a record; it was not his to shift blame to other shoulders; 
but it was his, with an eye fixed upon the welfare of his country, 
never faltering, to follow the line of duty to the end. His was 
the heart that braved every difficulty ;- his was the mind that 
wrought victory out of defeat. 

He has been charged with "want of dash." I wish to say 
that I never knew Lee to decline to attempt anything man should 
dare. An attempt has also been made to throw a cloud upon 
his character because he left the army of the United States to. 
join in the struggle for the liberty of his State. Without enter- 
ing into politics, I deem it my duty to say one word in reference 
to this charge. Virginian born, descended from a family illus- 
trious in the Colonial history of Virginia, more illustrious still 


in her struggle for independence, and most illustrious in her 
recent effort to maintain the great principles declared in 1776; 
given by Virginia to the service of the United States, he repre- 
sented her in the Military Academy at West Point. He was not 
educated by the Federal Government, but by Virginia; for she 
paid her full share for the support of that institution, and was 
entitled to its benefits as well as to demand in return the services 
of her sons. Entering the army of the United States, he repre- 
sented Virginia there also, and nobly performed his duty for the 
Union of which Virginia was a member, whether we look to his 
peaceful services as an engineer, or to his more notable deeds 
upon foreign fields of battle. He came from Mexico crowned 
with honors, covered by brevets, and recognized, young as he 
was, as one of the ablest of his country's soldiers. And to prove 
that he was estimated then as such, not only by his associates, 
but by foreigners also, I may mention that when he was a Cap- 
tain of Engineers, stationed in Baltimore, the Cuban Junta in 
New York invited him to be their leader in the revolutionary 
effort in that island. They were anxious to secure his services, 
and offered him every temptation that ambition could desire and 
pecuniary emoluments far beyond any which he could hope 
otherwise to acquire. He thought the matter over, and came to 
Washington to consult me as to what he should do. After a 
brief discussion of the complex character of the military problem 
which was presented, he turned from the consideration of that 
view of the question, by stating that the point on which he 
wished particularly to consult me, was as to the propriety of 
entertaining the proposition which had been made to him. He 
had been educated in the service of the United States, and felt it 
wrong to accept place in the army of a foreign power, while he 
held the commission which must have caused the offer to be 
made. Such was the extreme delicacy, such the nice sense of 
honor, of the gallant gentleman we deplore. But when Virginia 
— the State to which he owed his first and last allegiance — with- 
drew from the Union and thus terminated her relations to it, the 
same nice sense of honor and duty which had guided him on a 
former occasion, had a different application, and led him to draw 
his sword and, throwing it in the scale, to share her fortune for 
good or for evil. -~ 

When Virginia joined the Confederacy, and the seat of Gov- 
ernment was moved to Richmond, Lee was the highest officer in 
the little army of Virginia, and promptly co-operated in all the 
movements of the Confederate Government for the defence of 
the common country. When he was sent to Western Virginia, 
he made no inquiry as to his rank, but continued to serve under 


the impression that he was still an officer of Virginia ; and though 
he had, in point of fact, then been appointed General by the Con- 
federate Government, he was so careless of himself as never to 
have learned the fact, and only made inquiry when, ordered to 
another State, he deemed it necessary to know what would be 
his relative position towards other officers with whom he might 
be brought in contact. 

You all remember the disastrous character of that campaign 
in Western Virginia to which I have referred. He came back 
carrying the heavy weight of defeat and unappreciated by the 
people whom he served; for they could not know that if his 
plans and orders had been carried out, the result would have 
been victory rather than retreat. You did not know it, for I 
would not have known had he not reported it, with the request, 
however, in consideration for others, that it should not be made 
public. The clamor which then arose followed him when he 
went to South Carolina; so that it became necessary to write a 
letter to the Governor of that State, telling him what manner of 
man Lee was. Yet, through all this, with a, magnanimity rarely 
equalled, he stood in silence, without defending himself or allow- 
ing others to defend him, for he was unwilling to injure any one 
who was striking blows for the Confederacy 

[Mr. Davis then spoke of the straits to which the Confederacy 
was reduced, and of the danger to which her capital was ex- 
posed just after the battle of Seven Pines, and told how General Lee 
conceived and executed the desperate plan to turn the enemy's 
flank and rear, and how, after seven days' bloody battle, the pro- 
tection of Richmond was secured, and the enemy, driven far 
from the city, cowered on the banks of the James river, under 
the cover of his gunboats. The speaker referred also to the cir- 
cumstances attending General Lee's crossing the Potomac and 
the march into Pennsylvania, and to the censures to which that 
movement had been subjected by those who did not comprehend 
the purpose for which it was undertaken. He said that if neces- 
sary he had always been willing to assume the responsibility of 
it, and had at the time written a vindication of the enterprise. 
Whatever were the sacrifices of that campaign, it achieved the 
result for which it was intended. The enemy had long been 
concentrating his forces, and it was evident that if they con- 
tinued their steady progress, the Confederacy would be over- 
whelmed. Our only hope was to drive him to the defence of his 
own capital, that we, thus relieved, might be enabled in the mean- 
time to reinforce our shattered army How well General Lee 
carried out that dangerous experiment need not be told. Rich- 
mond was relieved, the Confederacy was relieved, and time was 


obtained, if other things had favored, to reinforce the army] 
Mr. Davis then proceeded : 

I shall not attempt to review the military career of our deceased 
Chieftain. Of the man, how shall I speak? He was my friend, 
and in that word is included all that I could say of any man. 
His moral qualities rose to the height of his genius. Self-deny- 
ing — always intent upon the one idea of duty — self-controlled to 
an extent that many thought him cold. His feelings were really 
warm, and his heart melted readily at the sufferings of the widow 
and the orphan, and his eye rested with mournful tenderness 
upon the wounded soldier. During the war he was ever con- 
scious of the insufficiency of the means at his control; but it was 
never his to complain or to utter a doubt — it was always his to 
do. When in the last campaign he was beleagured at Petersburg, 
and painfully aware of the straits to which we were reduced, he 
said: "With my army in the mountains of Virginia, I could carry 
on this war for twenty years longer." His army greatly dimin- 
ished, his transportation deficient, he could only hope to protract 
the defence until the roads should become firm enough to enable 
him to retire. An untoward event caused him to anticipate the 
projected movement, and the Army of Northern Virginia was 
overwhelmed. But in the surrender he trusted to conditions that 
should, both for policy and good faith, have been fulfilled — he 
expected his army to be respected and his paroled soldiers to be 
allowed the peaceful enjoyment of civil rights and property 
Whether these conditions have been fulfilled, I leave it to others 
to determine. 

Here he now sleeps in the land he loved so well, and that land 
is not Virginia only, for they do injustice to Lee who believe he 
fought only for Virginia. He was ready to go anywhere, on any 
service, for the good of his country, and Ids //ear/ 7oas as brociii 
as the fifteen States struggling for the principles that our forefathers 
fought for in the Revolution of 1776. H e sleeps with the thous- 
ands who fought under the same flag — and happiest they who 
first offered up their lives; he sleeps in the soil to him and to 
them most dear. That flag was furled when there was none to 
bear it. Around it we are assembled, a remnant of the living, to 
do honor to his memory, and there is an army of skeleton senti- 
nels to keep watch above his grave. This good citizen, this gal- 
lant soldier, this great general, this true patriot, had yet a higher 
praise than this or these — he was a true Christian. The Chris- 
tianity which ennobled his life gives to us the consolatory belief 
that he is happy beyond the grave. 

But while we mourn the loss of the great and the true, drop 
Ave also tears of sympathy with her who was an helpmeet to him — 


the noble woman who, while her husband was in the field leading 
the army of the Confederacy, though an invalid herself, passed 
the time in knitting socks for the marching soldiers ! A woman 
fit to be the mother of heroes — and heroes are descended from 
her. Mourning with her, we can only offer the consolations of 
the Christian. Our loss is not his, but he now enjoys the re- 
wards of a life well spent and a never wavering trust in a risen 
Saviour. This day we unite our words of sorrow with those of 
the good and great throughout Christendom, for his fame is gone 
over the water. His deeds will be remembered by the liberty- 
loving patriot of every age and of every clime; when the monu- 
ment we build shall have crumbled into dust, his virtues will still 
live, a high model for the imitation of generations yet unborn. 


Colonel C. S. Venable then presented the following report of 
the Committee on Resolutions: 

Whereas, it is a high and holy duty, as well as a noble privi- 
lege, to perpetuate the honors of those who have displayed emi- 
nent virtues and performed great achievements, that they may 
serve as incentives and examples to the latest generation of their 
countrymen, and attest the reverential admiration and affectionate 
regard of their compatriots; and whereas, this duty and privilege 
devolves on all who love and admire General Robert E. Lee 
throughout this country and the world, and in an especial manner 
upon those who followed him in the field, or who fought in the 
same cause, who shared in his glories, partook of his trials, and 
were united with him in the same sorrows and adversity, who 
were devoted to him in war by the baptism of fire and blood, 
and bound to him in peace by the still higher homage due to the 
rare and grand exhibition of a> character pure and lofty and 
gentle and true, under all changes of fortune, and serene amid 
the greatest disasters : therefore, be it 

/. Resolved, That we form an association to erect a monument 
at Richmond to the memory of Robert E. Lee, as an enduring 
testimonial of our love and respect and devotion to his fame. 

2. Resolved, That while donations will be gladly received from 
all who recognize in the excellences of General Lee's character 
an honor and an encouragement to our common humanity and 
an abiding hope that others in coming generations maybe found 
to imitate his virtues, it is desirable that every Confederate soldier 
and sailor should make some contribution,, however small, to the 
proposed monument. 


j. Resolved, That for the purpose of securing the requisite 
efficiency and dispatch in the erection of the monument, an ex- 
ecutive committee of seven, with a president, secretary, treasurer, 
auditor, &c, be appointed to invite and collect subscriptions, to 
procure designs for said monument, to select the best, to provide 
for the organization of central executive committees in other 
States, which may serve as mediums of communication between 
the executive committee of the Association and the local asso- 
ciations of those States, and to do whatever else is required in 
the premises. 

./. Resolved, That we respectfully invite the ladies of the Hol- 
lywood Association to lend us their assistance and co-operation 
in the collection of subscriptions. 

5. Resolved, That we cordially approve of the local monu- 
ments to our beloved Chieftain, proposed by the Associations at 
Atlanta, and at Lexington, his home, whose people were so 
closely united with him in the last sad years of his life. 

6. Resolved, That while we cordially thank the Governor and 
Legislature of Virginia for the steps they have taken to do 
honor to the memory of General Lee, yet, in deference to the 
wishes of his loved and venerated widow, with whom we mourn, 
we will not discuss the question of the most fitting resting place 
for his ever glorious remains, but will content ourselves with ex- 
pressing the earnest desire and hope that at some future proper 
time they will be committed to the charge of this Association. 

Colonel Venable supported the resolutions with the following 
remarks : 


My Countrymen and Fellow Soldiers — In presenting these reso- 
lutions from the Committee, I will make no studied effort to add 
to the eulogies of General Lee which have been pronounced 
throughout the world. I will not speak of his fame and military 
genius. We can leave these in perfect confidence to the calm 
verdict of history Be it mine to relate a single incident to show 
what his great soul suffered for us amid those last sad hours of 
the life of the Army of Northern Virginia, at Appomattox Court- 
house. At three o'clock on the morning of that fatal day, Gen- 
eral Lee rode forward, still hoping that we might break through 
the countless hordes of the enemy which hemmed us in. Halt- 
in"; a short distance in rear of our vansjuard, he sent me on to 
General Gordon to ask him if he could break through the ene- 
my I found General Gordon and General Fitz. Lee on their 
front line in the dim light of the morning, arranging an attack. 


Gordon's reply to the message (I give the expressive phrase of 
the gallant Georgian) was this: "Tell General Lee I have fought 
my corps to a frazzle, and I fear I can do nothing unless I am 
heavily supported by Longstreet's corps." When I bore this 
message back to General Lee, he said: "Then there is nothing 
left me but to go and see General Grant,* and I would rather 
die a thousand deaths." Convulsed with passionate grief, many 
were the wild words which we spoke, as we stood around him. 
Said one, " Oh ! General, what will history say of the surrender 
of the army in the field?" He replied, "Yes, I know they will 
say hard things of us; they will not understand how we were 
overwhelmed by numbers; but that is not the question, Colonel; 
the question is, is it right to surrender this army? if it is right, 
then / will take all the responsibility." Fellow soldiers, though he 
alone was calm, in that hour of humiliation the soul of our great 
Captain underwent the throes of death, for his grand old army 
surrendered, and for his people so soon to lie at the mercy of the 
foe; and the sorrows of this first death at Appomattox Court- 
house, with the afflictions which fell upon the devoted South, 
weighed upon his mighty heart to its breaking, when the wel- 
come messenger came from God to translate him to his home in 

We are met together to begin the erection of a monument to 
his memory. And where shall this monument be reared? In 
the words of the resolutions, we say, here at Richmond, which 
was founded by the companions of his knightly ancestors; at 
Richmond, the objective point of those attacks made with all the 
accumulated resources of modern warfare, which he repelled for 
four long years; Richmond, where lie so .many of the brave sol- 
diers who went gaily to death at his bidding — some who fell with 
their last looks upon the spires of her temples; others nursed in 
their dying hours by the tender hands of her women, and others 
still who gave their souls to God and their bodies to the enemy 
at Gettysburg, brought hither, by the loving care of the same 
true devoted women. Yes, let his monument be near them here 
in Richmond; and when the first flush of the resurrection morn 
tinges the skies, may their unsealed eyes behold the grand figure 
of him whom they loved so well. 

The Chair then introduced General John S. Preston, of South 

* Field's and Mahone's divisions of Longstreet'.s corps, staunch in the midst of all our dis- 
asters, were holding Meade back in our rear, and could not be spared for the attack. 



Mr President and Comrades of the Armies of the Confederate 
States — There was a time when, with wicked and impatient infi- 
delity, I feared it was not a kind providence which permitted 
men with grey beards to survive our war. But having seen 
Robert Lee live as righteously as he fought gloriously, and that 
we are now spared to the holy duty of honoring his memory 
and perpetuating his faith, I recant the heresy and meekly wait 
the way of the Lord, and am grateful for that consideration 
which calls me to appear in this stately procession. Yet I 
scarcely dare to bring my little blade of grass to lay upon a 
grave already glittering with tears and pearls, flowing from the 
eyes and hearts of a mourning world. On no occasion of my 
life have I been so utterly unable to tell the feelings of my heart, 
or the crowding thoughts which come rushing on my brain. But, 
comrades, we are not here to find rhetorical forms, modes and 
shows of grief, not even to speak singly, but altogether, as in 
these complete resolutions, with one tongue, one heart, in the 
simplest words of our language, to join our grief and our honor. 

As a Virginian, as a Confederate, as a man, as a friend, I am 
overwhelmed with the emotions which emanate from all these 
attributes of my being. Standing here before the most illustrious 
and the bravest living, I feel as if I were in the very presence of 
the greatest dead who has died in my generation — of him to 
whom my spirit bowed as to the anointed Champion of the 
purest human faith I have ever cherished — of him, who, by his 
great deeds, by his pure life, by his humble faith in the meek and 
lowly Jesus, has justified to the world and is now pleading with 
a God of Truth for that cause which made him the most illus- 
trious living man and the most mourned of all the dead who 
died in his generation. It was the greatness of his cause, and 
the purity of his faith in that cause, which made Robert Lee 
great, for we who know him best do know that Robert Lee could 
never have achieved greatness in an ignoble cause, or under an 
impure faith. God gave him to us, to sanctify our faith, and to 
show us and the world that, although we might fail, His chosen 
servant had made that cause forever holy 

We who have been associated with the man in the gentler 
affections of friendship, or even in the rage and turmoil of battle, 
can scarce!)' appreciate the perfect symmetry and dazzling splen- 
dor of that character which stands out the foremost of our age. 
Those who come after us, freed from our personal love, and from 
the present glow of his virtues, will sec in all their plentitude 


the god-like hero, the great Captain, the exalted Christian gentle- 
man, the%devoted son, who drew his sword in defence of the 
honor, the liberties and the sovereignty of Virginia, and who, as 
surely as if he had been shot to death on her bloodiest battle- 
field, did die for Virginia, for he had laid all his love, all his faith, 
all his life, at her feet. Virginians ! can we forget the mother for 
whose honor, liberty and sovereignty Robert Lee has just died? 

Lee's patriotism was that God-given virtue which makes demi- 
gods of men, and was as wide as his country, from Maryland to 
Texas; but he was a Virginian, body and soul, heart and spirit. 
He told his commander so when he sheathed his sword from the 
service of her enemies; he told the wife of his bosom so when 
the Virginia matron again girded on his sword; and here, glow- 
ing like a promised god, in the presence of the assembled sove- 
reignty of Virginia, he told them he drew his sword in defence 
of the honor, the liberty and the sovereignty of Virginia. She 
was his fortress, his citadel, his palladium, the very temple in 
which he worshiped; and it was here, when the circling fire was 
girdling nearer and nearer around her sacred Capitol, that the 
mighty powers of his soul came forth to redeem his pledge, for 
it was the last stronghold of his faith. And it was here, beneath 
the shadow of these monuments which attest her glory, that he 
rose to be peer of those whose images grow brighter by his 
great deeds. 

Here, then, comrades of Robert Lee, is the ground made 
sacred by himself for the repose of his ashes. Here, in front of 
the Capitol of Virginia, let there be reared side by side with the 
monument to George Washington, an equal monument to Robert 
Lee, that in all time to come our children's children may render 
equal reverence to the faith of the Father of his Country and 
that of the Confederate Soldier. 

General John B. Gordon, of Georgia, was introduced by the 
Chair, and spoke as follows : 


Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Fellow Soldiers — If permitted to 
indulge the sensibilities of my nature, I would gladly have fled 
the performance of this most honorable task your kindness has 
imposed, and in silence to-night have contemplated the virtues 
of the great and good man whose loss we so deplore. I loved 
General Lee, for it was my proud privilege to know him 
well. I loved him with a profound and filial awe — a sincere and 
unfeigned affection. We all loved him, and it is not a matter of 


surprise that the sons and daughters of Virginia should contend 
for that sweetest of all privileges now left us — to keep special 
watch over his grave. 

But where his remains shall lie is not the subject we are here 
to consider. We are met to provide, as suggested by the reso- 
lutions, for the erection of a monument in honor of our great 
Captain. Honor, did I say? Honor General Lee! How vain, 
what utter mockery do these words seem. Honor Lee! Why, 
my friends, his deeds have honored him. The very trump of 
Fame is proud to honor him. Europe and the civilized world 
have honored him supremely, and history itself will catch the 
echo and make it immortal. Honor Lee! Why, sir, the sad 
news of his death, as it was borne to the world, carried a pang 
even to the hearts of marshals and of monarchs; and I can easily 
fancy that amidst the din and clash and carnage of battle, the 
cannon, in transient pause at the whispered news, briefly ceased 
its roar around the walls of Paris. 

The brief time it would be proper for me to occupy to-night is 
altogether insufficient" to analyze the elements which made him 
great. But I wish to say that it has been my fortuue in life to 
have come in contact with some whom the world pronounced 
great; but of no man whom it has ever been my fortune to meet 
can it be so truthfully said, as of Lee, that, grand as might be 
your conceptions of the man before, he arose in incomparable 
majesty on more familiar acquaintance. This can be affirmed of 
few men who have ever lived or died, and of no other man whom 
it has been my fortune to approach. Like Niagara, the more 
you gazed the more its grandeur grew upon you, the more its 
majesty expanded and filled your spirit with a full satisfaction, 
that left a perfect delight without the slightest feeling of oppres- 
sion. Grandly majestic and dignified in all his deportment, he 
was genial as the sunlight of May, and not a ray of that cordial, 
social intercourse but brought warmth to the heart, as it did 
light to the understanding. 

But as one of the great Captains of the word, he will first pass 
review and inspection before the criticism of history. We will 
not compare him with Washington. The mind revolts instinct- 
ively at the comparison and competition of two such men, so 
equally and gloriously great. But with modest, yet calm and 
unflinching confidence, we place him by the side of the Marl- 
boroughs and Wellingtons, who fill such high niches in the pan- 
theon of immortality. 

Let us dwell for a moment, my friends, on this thought. 
Marlborough never met defeat, it is true. Victory marked every 
step of his triumphant march; but when, where and whom did 


Marlborough fight? The ambitious and vain but able Louis 
XIV had already exhausted the resources of his Kingdom be- 
fore Marlborough stepped upon the stage. The great Marshals 
Turenne and Condi were no more, and Luxemburg, we believe, 
had vanished from the scene. Marlborough, pre-eminently great, 
as he certainly was, nevertheless, led the combined forces of 
England and of Holland, in the freshness of their strength and 
the fulness of their financial ability, against prostate France, with 
a treasury depleted, a people worn out, discouraged and dejected. 

But let us turn to another comparison. The great Von Moltke, 
who now "rides upon the whirlwind and commands the storm" 
of Prussian invasion, has recently declared that General Lee, in 
all respects, was fully the equal of Wellington, and you may the 
b.etter appreciate this admission when you remember that Wel- 
lington was the benefactor of Prussia, and probably Von Moltke's 
special idol. But let us examine the arguments ourselves. 
France was already prostrate when Wellington met Napoleon. 
That great Emperor had seemed to make war upon the very 
elements themselves, to have contended with nature, and to have 
almost defied Providence. The Nemesis of the North, more 
savage than Goth or Vandal, mounting the swift gales of a Rus- 
sian winter, had carried death, desolation and ruin to the very 
gates of Paris. Wellington fought at Waterloo a bleeding and 
broken nation — a nation electrified, it is true, to almost super- 
human energy, by the genius of Napoleon; but a nation prostrate 
and bleeding, nevertheless. Compare this, my friends, the con- 
dition of France with the condition of the United States, in the 
freshness of her strength, in the luxuriance of her resources, in 
the lustihood of her gigantic youth, and tell me where belongs 
the chaplet of military superiority, with Lee or with Marlborough 
or Wellington? Even that greatest of Captains, in his Italian 
campaigns, flashing his fame in lightning splendor over the world, 
even Bonaparte met and crushed in battle but three or four, I 
think, Austrian armies; while our Lee, with one army, badly 
equipped and in time incredibly short, met and hurled back, in 
broken and shattered fragments, five admirably prepared and 
most magnificently appointed invasions. Yes, more: he dis- 
crowned, in rapid succession, one after another, of the United 
States' most accomplished and admirable commanders. 

Lee was never really beaten. Lee could not be beaten ! Over- 
powered, 'foiled in his efforts, he might be; but never defeated 
until the props which supported him gave way Never until the 
platform sank beneath him, did any enemy ever dare pursue. On 
that most melancholy of pages, the downfall of the Confederacy, 
no Leipsic, no Waterloo, no Sedan can ever be recorded. 


General Lee is known to the world only as a military man, but 
it is easy to divine from his history how mindful of all just 
authority, how observant of all constitutional restrictions, would 
have been his career as a civilian. When, near the conclusion of 
the war, darkness was thickening about the falling fortunes of 
the Confederacy; when its very life was in the sword of Lee, it 
was my proud privilege to note, with special admiration, the 
modest demeanor, the manly decorum, and the respectful homage 
which marked all his intercourse with the constituted authorities 
of his country Clothed with all power, he hid its every symbol 
behind a genial modesty, and refused to exert it save in obedience 
to law. And even in his triumphant entry into the territory of 
the enemy, so regardful was he of civilized warfare, that the 
observance of his general orders as to private property and 
private rights left the line of his march marked and marred by 
no devastated fields, charred ruins or desolated homes. 

But it is his private character, or rather, I should say, his per- 
sonal emotion and virtues, which his countrymen will most 
delight to consider and dwell upon. His magnanimity, trans- 
cending all historic precedents, seemed to form a new chapter in 
the book of humanity Witness that letter to Jackson, after his 
wounds at Chancellorsville, in which he said: "I am praying for 
you with more fervor than I ever prayed for myself"; and that 
other more disinterested and pathetic: "I could, for the good of 
my country, wish that the wounds which you have received, had 
been inflicted upon my own body"; or that of the later message: 
"Say to General Jackson that his wounds are not so severe as 
mine, for he loses but his left arm, while I, in him, lose my right"; 
or that other expression of unequalled magnanimity in which he 
ascribed the glory of their joint victory to the sole credit of the 
dying hero. Did I say unequalled? Yes, that was an avowal 
of unequalled magnanimity, until it met its parallel in his own 
grander self-negation, in assuming the sole responsibility for the 
failure at Gettysburg. Aye, my countrymen, Alexander had his 
Arbela, Caesar his Pharsalia, Napoleon his Austerlitz, but it was 
reserved for Lee to grow grander and more illustrious in defeat 
than ever in victory — grander, because in defeat he showed a 
spirit grander than victory, the heroism of battles, or all the 
achievements of the war — a spirit which crowns him with a chaplet 
greener far than ever mighty conqueror wore. 

I turn me now to that last closing scene at Appomattox, and 
draw thence a picture of this man as he laid aside the sword of 
the unrivaled soldier, to become the most exemplary of citizens. 

I can never forget the deferential homage paid this great Cap- 
tain by even the Federal soldiery, as with uncovered heads they 



contemplated in mute admiration this now captive hero, as he 
rode through their ranks. Impressed forever, daguereotyped on 
my heart, is that last parting scene with the handful of heroes 
still crowding around him. Few, indeed, were the words then 
spoken; but the quivering lip and the tearful eye told of the love 
they bore him, in symphonies more eloquent than any language 
can describe. Can I ever forget? No, never, never, can I forget 
the words which fell from his lips as I rode beside him amidst 
the dejected and weeping soldiery, when, turning to me, he said: 
"I could wish that I were numbered among the fallen in the last 
battle"; and oh! as he thought of the loss of the cause — of the 
many dead, scattered over so many fields, who sleeping neglected, 
with no governmental arms to gather up their remains, sleeping 
isolated and alone beneath the tearful stars, with naught but 
their soldier blankets about them — oh! as these emotions swept 
over his great soul, he felt that he would fain have laid him down 
to rest in the same grave where lies buried the common hope of 
his people. But Providence willed it otherwise. He rests now 
forever, my countrymen, his spirit in the bosom of that Father 
whom he so faithfully served, his body in the Valley, surrounded 
by the mountains of his native State — mountains, the autumnal 
glories of whose magnificent forests now seem but habiliments 
of mourning — in the Valley, the pearly dewdrops on whose grass 
and flowers seem but tears of sadness. 

No sound shall ever wake him to martial glory again. No 
more shall he lead his invincible lines to victory No more shall 
we gaze upon him and draw from his quiet demeanor lessons of 
life. But oh ! it is a sweet consolation to us who loved him that 
no more shall his bright spirit be bowed down to the earth with 
the burden of his people's wrongs. It is sweet consolation to us 
that this last victory, through faith in his crucified Redeemer, is 
the most transcendently glorious of all his triumphs. 

It is meet that we should build to his memory a monument 
here — here in this devoted city — here on these classic hills — a 
monument as enduring as their granite foundations — here beside 
the river whose banks are ever memorable and whose waters are 
vocal with the glories of his triumphs. 

Here let the monument stand as a testimonial to all peoples 
and countries and ages of our appreciation of the man who, in 
all the aspects of his career and character and attainments— as a 
great Captain, ranking among the first of any age — as a patriot, 
whose self-sacrificing devotion to his country renders him the 
peer of Washington — as a Christian like Havelock, recognizing 
his duty to his God above every other consideration — with a 
native modesty which refused to appropriate a glory all his own, 


and which surrounds with a halo of light his whole career and 
character — with a fidelity to principle which no misfortunes could 
shake — with an integrity of life and sacred reverence for truth 
which no man can dare to assail — must ever stand peerless 
among men in the estimation of Cristendom. 

Mr. Davis then requested Colonel Charles Marshall, of Balti- 
more, to address the meeting. Colonel Marshall replied that he 
felt unworthy to stand upon ground which had been occupied 
by the eminent speakers who had preceded him, and therefore 
preferred remaining on the floor. The Chair at once replied, 
"The friend and military secretary of Lee is worthy to occupy 
an )' ground, sir," and insisted that Colonel Marshall should come 
upon the stand, which he then did amid great applause, and 
spoke as follows : 


Nothing but an earnest desire to do all in my power to pro- 
mote the object of our meeting to-night induces me to occupy 
this stand. I feel my unfitness to address those who have lis- 
tened to men whose names, I may say, without flattery, are his- 
toric — whose valor and constancy deserved and enjoyed the con- 
fidence of our great leader. More especially am I unworthy to 
stand where just now he stood who, amidst all the cares and 
trials of the eventful period during which he guided the destinies 
of the Confederacy, amidst all the dangers and difficulties that 
surrounded him, amidst all the vicissitudes of victory and dis- 
aster, always and on all occasions, gave the aid of his eminent 
abilities, his unfaltering "courage and his pure- patriotism, to our 
illustrious chief. 

But on behalf of those who are with me to-night from Mary- 
land, I desire to say a few words in support of the resolutions of 
the Committee. 

These resolutions require that a monument shall be erected, 
and that it shall be erected in Richmond. 

In both propositions we most heartily concur. 

We are assembled not to provide for the erection of a tomb- 
stone on which to write, " Here lies Robert K. Lee," but to rear a 
cloud-piercing monument which shall tell to coming generations, 

"Hoc lived Robert E. Lcc" 

We desire something worth)' to transmit the lesson of his 
example, and of our undying love, to posterity, and to this end 
Ave invoke the aid not only of those who followed the flashing 


of his stainless sword, but of all who reverence the memory of 
his spotless life. We wish to concentrate all efforts upon the 
attainment of this great end, not that we may honor him, but 
that we may preserve, for the good of all mankind, the memory 
of his achievements and the teaching of his example. 

And it is eminently proper that such a monument should be 
erected in Richmond. 

Here was the scene of his greatest labors and his greatest 
triumphs. In defence of this city he displayed those great quali- 
ties which have given him the lofty position assigned him by the 
unanimous voice of his time and secured for him the love, the 
gratitude and the affectionate veneration of the people for whose 
liberties he fought. 

All his campaigns, all the battles, whether among the hills of 
Pennsylvania and Maryland, or upon the banks of the Chicka- 
hominy and the Appomattox, had for their great object the pro- 
tection of Richmond. 

Here lie buried the dead of every State, from Maryland to 
Texas, and to this spot, to Hollywood, the hearts of wives, of 
mothers and of sisters, from the banks of the Potomac to those 
of the Rio Grande, are ever sadly but proudly turning. 

No other place in the South unites so entirely the sympathies 
and affections of her people. 

To raise his monument here, within sight of the fields on 
which he won his fame and among the graves of those who were 
faithful to him unto death, seems to us, therefore, to be most 
appropriate. We do not propose now to say what that monu- 
ment shall be, but to adopt measures which will enable us to 
invite the taste, the cultivation and the genius of our age to 
compete in furnishing a suitable design. 

And we hope to find some one who can rise to the height of 
the great argument, grasping the subject, realizing the character 
and achievements of our leader, feeling the love, the gratitude, 
the veneration of our people, and grouping all, around this hal- 
lowed spot, write in one enduring word the story of General Lee, 
his army and his country. 

There is one other reason why we should erect a monument, 
and why we should erect it here. It is that we may perpetuate 
for our guidance the lesson taught by his example when war 
was done and all his efforts had ended in failure. In that lesson 
the whole country has an immediate interest. History presents 
no parallel to the sudden cessasion of resistance on the part of 
the Southern people after the surrender at Appomattox. In a 
few short weeks, where armies had but lately confronted each 


other, peace was fully restored and not an armed Southron could 
be found within our borders. 

'■ Tt seemed as if their mother earth 
Had swallowed up her warlike birth." 

The Federal Government manifested its confidence in the 
pledges made by the soldiers and people of the Confederacy by 
sending companies and regiments to control those before whom 
corps and armies had fled. That Government knew well that 
the handful of troops sent ostensibly to overawe the South could 
repose securely upon that honor which they insulted by their 

And in that confidence, shame be it said, wrongs were inflicted 
upon our people, which we have the authority of unquestioned 
loyalty for saying ought not to be meekly borne by men of 
English blood. 

But the Federal Government knew that the Southern people 
looked for guidance to their leaders, and that foremost among 
those leaders they looked to General Lee. He had given the 
pledge of his honor, and his people regarded his honor as their 

Relying upon his influence with his countrymen, and knowing 
that his influence would be exerted to secure the most perfect 
compliance with the terms of his surrender, the dominant party 
in the North entered upon a course of systematic oppression and 
insult which would have justified him in renouncing the obliga- 
tions of the terms made at Appomattox. 

But his word was given and nothing could change it. The 
dastardly wrongs inflicted upon his people could break and did 
break his great heart, but could not make him swerve from his 
truth. He bore all in silence until he died, and his people looked 
upon him and gathered strength to bear. 

New outrages upon our liberties and rights, new insults to our 
honor, may tempt us sometimes to lorgct that our hands no 
longer hold the sabre or the rifle. To whom shall we turn for 
that strength which will enable us to keep faith with the faithless? 

We can no longer see the noble example which he set before 
us; but that we may not err from the path in which he trod, let 
us here, at the place towards which the eyes and hearts of all 
our people turn, rear a monument, to which, when tempted to 
resist, we mav look and learn afresh the lesson of that sublime 
patience which he illustrated, and which, my fellow soldiers and 
countrymen, be assured, will, like the anvil, wear out many 


Colonel Marshall was succeeded by General Henry A. Wise, 
who spoke as follows : 


Mr. President and Comrades of the Confederacy — I cannot trust 
the fullness of my heart at the moment of this meeting to prompt 
my lips with the words becoming the bier of General Robert E. 
Lee, whose death has called together some of his surviving com- 

It is no occasion for any sketch of biography or history ; 
eulogy upon his life and death is vain; his character excels all 
praise; his merits need not to be disclosed and his faults had no 
"dread abodes," for they all leaned to virtue's side. Whatever 
faults he had, and whatever blame belonged to him, no friend or 
foe could point them out half as readily as his truthful ingenuous- 
ness would admit and mourn them. He was swifter than the 
accuser to accuse himself, and ever generous to the faults of 
others; he was ever foremost to acknowledge his own. If noth- 
ing is to be said of the dead but what is good, there is a super- 
abundance of good in his life and death to compose volumes for 
the instruction of mankind. He is departed and gone to his 
Father, but it cannot be said of him that he is "no more." His 
fame is left to earth for all time — his great and good soul is 
in heaven for all eternity; and from his example proceeds a 
moral power and divine force which all the arms of earth and 
powers of darkness cannot subdue, a wisdom and virtue which 
shall hover over the land he loved, and spread it with the fruits 
of righteousness and truth. That is enough to be said of him, 
and it is left for us to cherish his memory and keep the legacies 
of lessons he taught. 

The first fruit of his demise is the happy result of bringing us 
together for the first time since he gave up the sword which he 
accepted with the pledge to devote it to the gods and the altars 
of his home, and to sheath it only when his work was finished. 
He sheathed it not until his whole duty was discharged and his 
work was done. He made us honor, love and confide in him, 
and taught us how to deserve the honor, love and confidence of 
each other; and I pray you now to form a brotherhood in peace 
which shall perpetuate our comradeship in war, worthy of the 
armies of the Confederacy and of their illustrious Chief. 

In its initiation let it be like what the Cincinnati Society after 
the first American Revolution was to Washington — full of affec- 
tions and memories of which the great Chief was the centre — 
but let it never fail or expire as the Cincinnati did, for reason or 


suspicion even of any designs of paltry party politics. Let our 
standards be still the standard of Robert E. Lee — God, Religion, 
Honor, Truth and our Country! Let us unite in one grand 
Confederate brotherhood, with subordinate auxiliary organiza- 
tions for each Confederate army, to foster our affections, to 
cherish our memories, and to preserve our history There is a 
necessity for all this, for we are scattered and separated from each 
other, and ma)' lose our fellow feeling; we are fast dying away 
from memory, and may soon be forgotten ; and the spoiler is 
now busily and rapidly taking from us, by the pen, the truth of 
history, more precious to us than all the spoils of war which 
were ever captured by his sword. 

This, I trust, will be the main object of this meeting. Mourn 
we must, in silent submission to God's will, but we must act to 
save what is most precious to us and our children, as well as 
grieve for what is lost. 

We have lost much, but we did much. We were obliged to 
fail, and we did fail; but what men on earth ever did more, or as 
much, in a struggle for "hope against hope"? Will Paris, with 
her millions, stand as long as Richmond did? Will the Belle of 
Nations, that lily of their garden, France, endure against equal 
odds as long as the devoted Confederacy stood against all the 
odds of all the earth? Passing events point to the justice due 
us, and we will not be true to ourselves if we neglect or omit to 
claim our own in history. Contrasts now casting lights and 
shadows on earth are illustrating causes of failures in battles and 
causes of the downfall of nations. We fell in weakness of mere 
numbers, and there are causes for that weakness which we must 
scan. And we have not only affections to foster, memories to 
cherish, truth to preserve, but liberties to be regained. This is a 
great work, and we ought to be up and about it. 

Monuments are but mites compared with this work. General 
Lee's remains are in a Temple of the Living God, selected by 
himself for the depository of his body amidst the last of his 
labors. Stone and mortar can't add one cubit to his stature; his 
monument is in the heart of the Confederacy, and on that topic 
I have but a word to add : that I would delight to see a design 
of true art placed over or at his tomb — no meretricious mockery of 
all taste, such as Northern mechanics have put upon the monu- 
ment of George Washington in the Captiol Square of this metrop- 
olis — but a work" of some native artist of the South, like that of 
Houdon, worth)' of the man it moulds. We have an artist here, 
Mr. Edward Valentine, of Richmond, who has already made the 
plaster speak a very Lee, and he can make the Parian express 
him to the vcrv life. 


And now, sir, pardon, I pray you, the egotism of an old man 
when I add that the age of General Lee was within a few days 
the same as my own. I was with him from the very first to the 
very last of his campaigns. I honored, loved and obeyed him 
for four years. He has, in the words of his last moments, struck 
his tent. In a very short time I shall receive the mandate to 
strike my tent too, and I now pray that when that order comes 
to you and to me, that we may all be ready to follow him in the 
march to that "bourne whence no traveler returns" — to join him 
in that innumerable army of the Captain of Salvation, who is 
invincible, who hath demanded of Death his sting, and of the 
grave its victory. There is no more sting for General Lee, and 
his now is the victory. In defeat he was glorious, and in death 
more than victorious. 

Colonel William Preston Johnston, of Kentucky, next occu- 
pied the stand. 


Mr President and Felloze Soldiers — A few minutes since I was 
informed that I was expected to address you. This unexpected 
honor greatly embarrasses me, tired with two days' travel, just 
off the cars, and physically unfit to appear before you. It would 
ill become me, moreover, to follow with any elaborate attempt 
the golden-mouthed orator of Virginia, or to utter panegyric 
after him whose lightest word makes history, and who, while he 
stood at the head of the Confederacy, never failed to cheer his 
chosen Captain with counsel and comfort, or to uphold his arm 
in the hour of battle with all the force at his command. It 
would ill become me here, surrounded by the soldiers who 
shared in the glories of Lee, and after the speeches of his trusted 
military friends and of his great Lieutenants, who rode down 
with him to battle, to paint again the meridian splendor of his 
great campaigns. But if you are willing to listen to some brief 
passages of his latter life, I will not detain you long. 

It was my fortune after the war to be called from my distant 
home in Kentucky by a request which, in the mouth of General 
Lee, was equivalent to a command. For four years I have 
watched with reverential affection the final scenes of that life, so 
magnificent in achievements and then so beautiful towards its 
end. When he had gone down through the bitter waters of 
Appomattox from the martial glories of the war to the quiet of 
civic pursuits, that life, always consecrated to duty, was rounded 
to a perfect close. Turning his face to the desolated land for 


which he had done and suffered so much, he stretched forth his 
hand to staunch the wounds he had been unable to avert, and 
that hand willingly did the work it found to do. As President 
of Washington College, teaching the sons of his soldiers by pre- 
cept and example, he presented to the world the noble spectacle 
of one who could take up the severed threads of a career broken 
by disaster and bind them in all their former strength and use- 

Here, in the sunset of his days, shone forth his exalted worth, 
the wonderful tenderness of his nature, and the dignity and com- 
posure of his soul. As an illustration of some of these qualities, 
I may mention that the last hours of his active life were spent 
in a vestry meeting, where I was present, and that he there 
evinced great solicitude that the veteran Soldier of the Cross 
who served as his minister should be secure of a decent mainte- 
nance, and that the House of God where he worshiped should 
be a not unworthy temple to His name. Yet even there he 
passed the few minutes preceding the meeting in smoothing away 
the asperities springing from differences of opinion, with playful 
anecdote and pleasant reminiscence of that saintly servant of 
God, Bishop Meade, and that noble pillar of constitutional juris- 
prudence, Chief Justice Marshall. 

Fifteen minutes after we parted with him he was stricken with 
his last illness, and during this it was sometimes my sad duty to 
minister to his needs. I feel that in an assembly where every 
heart throbs with sorrow for our departed Chieftain, I violate no 
confidence by adverting to a death-bed every way worthy of the 
life it ended. Once in the solemn watches of the night, when I 
handed him the prescribed nourishment, he turned upon me a 
look of friendly recognition, and then cast down his eyes with 
such a sadness in them that I can never forget it. But he spoke 
not a word; and this, not because he was unable, for when he 
chose, he did speak brief sentences with distinct enunciation, but 
because, before friends or family or physicians feared the impend- 
ing stroke, he saw the open portals of death and chose to wrap 
himself in an unbroken silence as he went down to enter them. 
He, aeainst whom no man could charge in a lomi life a word 
that should not have been spoken, chose to leave the deeds of 
that life to speak for him. To me, this woful silence, this voice- 
less majesty, was the grandest feature of that grand death. 

I did not come here to-night expecting to speak; but as the 
opportunity is afforded me, I cannot forbear to remove the great 
misapprehension, by whatsoever means and for whatsoever pur- 
poses propagated, that I discover in Richmond, as to the burial 
of General Lee. I claim the right to disabuse your minds as to 


the conduct of the authorities of Washington College and the 
people of Rockbridge, by a calm statement of facts. When 
General Lee died, our people only did that which we could not 
have left undone without disrespect to the dead, disregard to the 
feelings of the living, and disgrace to ourselves. We tendered a 
vault for the deposit of the honored remains, not only without 
stipulation as to retaining them, but with the express assurance 
to Mrs. Lee that if at any time she should desire their removal, 
her slightest wish would be respected. This offer was accepted, 
and the hands of soldiers committed the great Soldier to the 
tomb. We considered the decision of where his final resting 
place should be a subject too delicate and too sacred for discus- 
sion, much less altercation, and felt that the sure instinct of 
domestic affection would furnish the safest guide. To the be- 
reaved widow, unconstrained by popular clamor, belonged the 
custody of the dead, and the right to weep over the loved and 
the lost was more sacred than even the gratification of a laudable 
State pride. When we had placed him in the grave, we resolved 
to decorate his tomb in a manner worthy of the spot where he 
lay; for even if his ashes were removed, his spirit would abide 
with us and preside over us, and should be honored with fitting 
memorials. When the request for his removal was made by the 
Legislature, the soldiers who had followed his coffin, in coming 
from his burial, said they would esteem it a high honor to guard 
the sacred dust, if his family approved; and the hearts of all our 
people responded. Certainly an honor, certainly a sacred charge, 
certainly a sure influence for good among all the hundreds of repre- 
sentative young men who would keep constant watch and ward in 
solemn vigil about the tomb! And even if hereafter these earthly 
relics are borne away, a mighty memory will remain where he stood 
and wrought and died. Most assuredly I am swayed by no 
merely local feeling. If born upon another soil, yet the blood of 
a Virginian ancestry flows in my veins, and it was to offer my 
sword in defence of Virginia that I left my native State. I know 
the heroism of this city, for I stood within its fire-girdled walls 
in the hour of its greatest straits, and oh! how well I remember 
the bitter agony and the heart-breaks of those years. I know 
that it was for the protection of this city that General Lee won 
his just renown. Yes! here is the place to build a monument, 
here is the spot to rear a cenotaph, to him who stood like a rock 
of defence before you. My colleagues and I will do our full 
share towards this noble expression of a nation's love; and the 
people of the Valley, who followed him and fought for you, will 
delight to help raise in this capital city of the Confederacy a 
splendid and enduring monument to his fame. But if the hearts 


of his family should decide that the proper resting place of the 
great hero is where it would keep unbroken the family circle, and 
leave it to repose amid the scenes of his last labors, in the very 
chapel built as it were by his own hands, at the home where he 
chose to live and chose to die, his old soldiers here will not 
grudge to the faithful hearts he had called around him in his last 
years the privilege and the honor of guarding his tomb. When 
I speak of the chapel he built with his ozvu hands, out of the first 
fruits of the offerings of the South to enable him to carry out 
his work of education, I go but little beyond the litteral fact. 
His hand tried with plummet and trowel almost every stone in 
the massive foundation of that stately structure, and the fact has 
a melancholy significance when we reflect that it incloses his 
tomb. I said he chose to live and to die at Lexington. No action 
of his admirable life was an accident, and it was with a settled 
purpose that he took charge of the education of the youth of the 
South when, oppressed by overwhelming numbers, he selected 
this retreat. You remember that it was these mountains that 
Washington named as the fortress of American freedom, and 
where, as you have heard, General Lee said he could keep the 
enemy at bay twenty years; and here he spent the remnant of 
his days in usefulness and honor. 

And now, comrades, I have only to add that, while a beautiful 
memorial will be erected above the present tomb of General Lee 
to testify our love and reverence, I trust no effort will be spared 
to rear in Richmond a stately monument to his fame, worthy of 
the man and of the cause in which he suffered. 

Colonel Robert E. Withers, of Virginia, followed in support of 
the resolutions. 


Mr President and Comrades — After the gorgeous offerings 
which, in such rich profusion, have been laid in votive heaps on the 
tomb of our departed hero, it is perhaps but meet that I should 
appear bearing the feeble tribute of my love, and with respectful 
reverence place the modest chaplet on the same holy shrine; for 
I stand before you the representative of the mass of officers and 
men of his command. It was to have been expected that the 
companions of his earlier years and the friends of his later man- 
hood — that those endeared by the sweets of daily social inter- 
course, and yet more, those trusted heroes who launched with red 
right hand the bolts of his admirable strategy upon the fore-front 
of the enemy — that these should give utterance to feelings of 


high appreciation, of profound admiration, of reverential regard. 
But I can lay claim to no such enviable intimacy. My personal 
intercourse with Genetal Lee was unfrequent; yet I, in common 
with every ragged and dust-begrimed soldier who followed his 
banner, loved him with deepest devotion. And why was this the 
predominant sentiment of his soldiery? The answer is obvious: 
Because he loved his men. His military achievements may have 
been rivaled, possibly surpassed, by other great commanders. 
Alexander, Marlborough, Wellington, Napoleon, each and all 
excited the admiration, enjoyed the confidence and aroused the 
enthusiasm of their soldiers; but none of these were loved as Lee 
was loved. 

They considered their soldiers as mere machines prepared to 
perform a certain part in the great drama of the battlefield. 
They regarded not the question of human life as a controlling 
element in their calculations. With unmoved eye and unquick- 
ened pulse, they marched their solid columns into the very vor- 
tex of destruction, without reck or care for the waste of life 
involved. But General Lee never forgot that his men were 
fellow-beings as well as soldiers. He cared for them with paren- 
tal solicitude, nor ever relaxed his efforts to promote their com- 
fort and protect their lives. A striking exemplification of this 
trait can be found in his constant habit of turning over to the 
sick and wounded soldiers in the hospital such delicate viands as 
the partiality of friends furnished for his personal consumption, 
preferring for himself the plain fare of the camp, that his 
sick soldiers might enjoy the unwonted luxuries. These facts 
were well known throughout the army; and hence his soldiery, 
though often ragged and emaciated, though suffering from pri- 
vations, and cold, and nakedness, never faltered in their devotion, 
or abated one tittle of their love for him. They knew it was not 
his fault. 

Of the indignities and injuries inflicted on General Lee and 
his countrymen it becomes us not now to speak. I have no 
resentful feelings towards those who met us in manly conflict, but 
the recollection of the atrocities perpetrated since the war upon 
a defenceless people, arouses a storm of angry feeling which 
neither the solemnity of the occasion nor the sanctity of the 
place will suffice to quell. I can only raise my eyes to Lee's 
God, and pray for grace to forgive as I hope to be forgiven. The 
resolutions proposed by the Committee meet my hearty appro- 
val. Monumental rewards are but the expression of a nation's 
gratitude for distinguished service and reverence for the mighty 
dead. They are not designed to do honor to the dead, but 
mark the respect and love of the living; and surely no one has 


commanded such respect and gratitude or excited such love as 
our late Commander. Whether the monument be reared in 
Richmond or in Lexington — whether it casts its shadows over 
the rushing waters of the James, or bathes its summit in the 
pure air of the mountains, amid which his parting spirit took its 
upward flight — it will cause all who gaze upon it to feel their 
hearts more pure, their gratitude more warm, their sense of duty 
more exalted, and their love of country touched by a holier 
flame. But neither classic bust, nor monumental marble, nor 
lofty cenotaph, nor stately urn, nor enduring bronze, nor ever- 
lasting granite, can add to his glory in this land he loved so 
well — for here 

"The meanest rill, the mightiest river, 
Roll mingling with his fame forever." 

The resolutions, as reported, were then unanimously adopted, 
id the following officers of the 
therein recommended were elected : 

and the following officers of the Lee Monument Association 

President — Lieutenant-General Juijal A. Early. 

Executive Committee. 

Colonel Walter H. Taylor Norfolk. 

Brigadier-General B. T. Johnson Richmond. 

Major Robert Stiles Richmond. 

R. II. Maury, Esq Richmond. 

Colonel Thomas H. Carter King William county. 

Colonel C. S. Yevable , '. University of Va. 

Captain R. D. Minor Richmond. 

Colonel T. M. R. Taloott Richmond. 

Colonel YV II. Palmer Richmond. 

Sergeant C. P. Allen Richmond. 

Chairmen of State Executive Committees. 

Major-General I. It. Trimble Maryland. 

Major-General J. C. Breckinridge , Kentucky 

Major-General J. S. Marmaduke Missouri. 

Lieiitenant-General N. B. Forrest Tennessee. 

Major-General 14. F. Hoke North Carolina. 

Lie 1 1 tenant-General Wade Hampton South Carolina. 

Major-General John 15. (iORDOX Georgia. 

Brigadier-! Jencral Perry Florida. 

Lieutenant-Geiieral William .1. IlARDEE Alabama. 

Brigadier-* ieueral B. G. Ill'.Ml>lIRE\ S Mississippi. 

O'eueral <L T. Beauregard Louisiana. 

Brigadier-* ieneral YV. L. Cabell Arkansas. 

Major John S. Sellers Texas. 

"W W Corcoran, Esq Washington, D. C. 




Pursuant to appointment of the preceding evening, the officers 
and soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia met at the 
Theatre at eleven o'clock on Friday morning. 

The meeting was called to order by Colonel Robert E. Withers, 
on whose motion General Early was elected Chairman, and de- 
veloped the objects of the meeting in his opening address. 


Gentlemen — I thank you sincerely for the kind feelings you 
manifest towards me, but this meeting has been called for busi- 
ness, and the occasion is not one for speaking. Before I take my 
seat, however, I desire to say to you that it comes within my 
own knowledge that our lamented Commander was preparing to 
write a history of the campaigns of the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia. The execution of this work by him has been prevented 
by his death, and it devolves upon the survivors of that army to 
see that the truth of history is vindicated, and that the deeds of 
themselves and their fallen comrades are not transmitted to pos- 
terity, through the medium of crude histories compiled, by mer- 
cenary writers, from the accounts of newspaper correspondents, 
who remained in the rear and never went to the front, or in the 
libellous productions of our adversaries, who have been con- 
stantly engaged and are now engaged in the effort to make our 
cause and its adherents odious by all the arts of writing, speak- 
ing, painting and illustrated printing, as well as by penal enact- 
ments. Books purporting to be histories of our late war have 
been published, with the claim that they were written with the 
sanction and by the authority of General Lee; and I take this 
occasion to state to you that I have it from his own lips that he 
never gave his sanction to any such publications. I make this 
statement because I know that intelligent foreigners have been 
misled by this claim, as they could not understand how any 
writer could have the impudence to make such pretensions unless 


they were founded in truth. General Lee was not in the habit 
of correcting misrepresentations of his words and acts in the 
public prints, as, conscious of his own rectitude, he was willing 
to trust the vindication of his character to his country, his soldiers 
and his God. His views on this subject I happened to learn from 
a gentle rebuke he once gave me, when I undertook to correct a 
misrepresentation of a correspondent in regard to myself — an 
offence I did not repeat after that rebuke. On that occasion he 
informed me that he rarely ever read the papers, unless when 
some staff officer brought them to him and called his attention 
to something of especial importance. 

As confirmatory of what was so eloquently said by President 
Davis last night in regard to General Lee's extended views of 
patriotism and his devotion to the whole South, and as indicative 
of his constant regard for and his desire to do justice to the 
soldiers who fought under him, I will read you some extracts 
from two letters from him to myself, and I do this not from any 
feelings of egotism, but because I wish to give you his own 
words. I must say to you that just as I was leaving the country 
on my voluntary exile, I wrote him a letter, to be sent as soon 
as I was beyond the reach of danger — that is, I reported to him 
as my commander, as I did immediately on my return to the 
State, for I always considered him as such to the hour of his 
death; and now that he is gone, I will endeavor to follow his 
precepts and example, as far as a sinful mortal can do. In 
answer to my letter, he wrote me the one I now hold in my hand, 
which is dated at "Lexington, November 22d, 1865," and which 
reached me at Nassau, New Providence. From that letter I read 
you the following extracts, omitting what is personal to myself. 
He says: 

" Lexington, November 22, 1805. 

" I am very glad to hear of your health and safety, 
but regret your absence from the country, though I fully under- 
stand your feelings on the subject. I think the South requires 
the presence of all her sons now more than at any period of her 
history, and I determined at the outset of her difficulties to 
share the fate of my people. I desire, if not pre- 

vented, to write a history of the campaigns in Virginia. All my 
records, books, orders, &c, were destroyed in the conflagration 
and retreat from Richmond. Only such of my reports as were 
printed are preserved. Vour reports of your operations in 1S64 
and 1S65 are among those destroyed. Cannot you repeat them 
and send me copies of such letters, orders, &c, of mine (includ- 
ing the last letter to which you refer), and particularly give me 


your recollection of our effective strength at the principle battles? 
My only object is to transmit, if possible, the truth to posterity, 
and do justice to our brave soldiers." 

When I arrived at Havana in December, 1865, I saw the re- 
ports of Secretary Stanton and General Grant of the military 
operations of the years 1864 and 1865, containing many errors 
of fact. Provoked by these, and also by some newspaper state- 
ments about my having applied for pardon, I wrote a letter to 
the New York News, which perhaps some of you saw and read. 
It was such a letter as General Lee would not have written him- 
self, because he was a man of unlimited self-control, whereas I 
am accustomed to speak and write just as I feel, and sometimes 
I use what some would regard as strong language. That letter 
was written just in that view Again, on reaching the City of 
Mexico, I found a Northern journal, which has long been in the 
habit of slandering our people, both by its articles and its illus- 
trations, which contained a very abusive article in regard to Mr. 
Davis, written by one who had held a commission in the Con- 
federate army, and I had also learned that some who took espe- 
cial pains to be out of the country during the war, though they 
professed to be very strong Confederates after the close, were in 
the habit of speaking very harshly of our President. Indignant 
at all this, I wrote a letter in vindication of him, in which I took 
especial care to speak my sentiments freely about those who 
were engaged in the work of defaming that great and good man, 
who then was suffering a cruel imprisonment and persecution for 
the cause in which all of us had been engaged. This letter was 
first published in the Mexican Times (Governor Allen's paper),, 
and afterwards in some of the American papers. I make this 
statement in order that you may understand the allusions in the 
second letter to me, which was in answer to one of mine, and is 
dated the 15th of March, 1866. In that letter General Lee says: 

" It will be difficult to get the world to understand the odds 
against which we fought, and the destruction and loss of all of 
the returns of the army embarrasses me very much. I read 
your letter from Havana to the New York News with much 
interest, and was pleased with the temper in which it was written. 
I have since received the paper containing it published in the 
City of Mexico, and also your letter in reference to Mr. Davis. 
I understand and appreciate the motive which prompted both 
letters, and think they will be of service in the way you intended. 
I have been much pained to see the attempts made to cast odium 
upon Mr. Davis, but do not think they will be successful with 


the reflecting or informed portion of the country. The accusa- 
tions against myself I have not thought proper to notice, or even 
to correct misrepresentations of my words and acts. We shall 
have to be patient and suffer for awhile at least, and all contro- 
versy, I think, will only serve to prolong angry and bitter feel- 
ings, and postpone the time when reason and charity may resume 
their sway. At present the public mind is not prepared to re- 
ceive the truth. 

"I hope, in time, peace will be restored to the 
country, and that the South may enjoy some measure of pros- 
perity I fear, however, that much suffering is still in store for 
her, and that her people must be prepared to exercise fortitude 
and forbearance." 

You must recollect, my friends, that these letters were written 
by a Virginian who had thought it his duty to remain and share 
the fate of his people, whatever it might be, to another Virginian 
who had taken upon himself a voluntary exile which he then 
expected to be perpetual. They were written under circum- 
stances that induced the supposion that they would never meet 
the eye of any one but him to whom they were written. You 
will see that General Lee, though he was a Virginian in every 
proper sense of the term, did not confine his patriotism and his 
affections to his native State, but embraced the whole South, and 
claimed her people as his people — and what a glorious privilege 
it was to be a part of his people ! You will also perceive his 
great anxiety to do justice to the soldiers who fought under him, 
and for whom he cherished a paternal affection as long as he 
lived. The history which he was prevented from writing must 
be written by some one competent to the task, and the world 
must be made to know that Confederate soldiers are not ashamed 
of the great struggle they made for constitutional liberty, and 
regret nothing, in that respect, except that they failed to accom- 
plish their great purpose. The materials for that history must 
be furnished by those who participated in the struggle and were 
in a condition to know and understand the facts, and that will be 
one of the prime objects of the Association which it is now pro- 
posed to form. 

On motion of General Trimble, of Maryland, the following 
Committee on Permanent Organization was appointed: 

■Miijor-r.ciHM'.il T. K. Trimble. Colonel Walter IT. Taylor. 

Colonel R. T. Pkkston. Private A. Warwick. 

~M:ijor-(o neral C. W Fif.LD. Private E. S. Gkkgory. 

Mnjor-CeiH'ial John B. Gordon. Captain J. IT. (.'jcambeblayxk. 

Uri^.-Genorul George II. Steuart. Captain Manx Pa<;e. 



The Committee, after a brief absence, recommended the fol- 
lowing Permanent Organization, and the report was unanimously 
adopted : 

President — Lieutenant-General Jubal A. Early. 

Vice-Presidents — 

Major-General George E. Pickett. Major-General William Smith. 
Major-General Edward Johnson. Colonel Woodridge. 

Major-General Dabney H. Mauky. Private Spencer, Jr. 

Private George E. Harrison. Lieutenant W W Robinson. 

Lieutenant A. C. Trigg. Private Leslie Spence. 

Colonel William White. 

Secretaries — 

Captain J. II. Chamberlayne. Major R. W Huntee. 

Private E. S. Gregory. 

On motion of General Bradley T. Johnson, the following 
Committee was appointed to report a plan for the organization 
of the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia: 

Brig.-Gen. Bradley T. Johnson. Private Jebyis Spencer. 

Brig.- General Wm. N. Pendleton. Colonel Henry E. Peyton. 

Colonel E. J. Haryie. Captain J. McIIenry Howard. 

Major Wjlliam S. Bassingeb. Private James Tillman. 

Brigadier-General Seth Babton. Private O. G. Kean. 

Major-General Edward Johnson. Major Jed Hotchkiss. 

Major-General Fitzhugh Lee. Major A. W Gabbeb. 

Sergeant Walteb Blaib. Brigadier-General J. H. Lane. 

Brigadier-General M. L). Cobse. Major-General John B. Gobdon. 

Colonel R. Snowden Andrews. Lieutenant F. C. Slingluff. 

The Committee made the following report: 

i. Resolved, That this meeting will at once adopt a plan of 
organization for an Association of the Army of Northern Vir- 

2. Resolved, That we earnestly request that similar organiza- 
tions be formed by the officers and men of all the armies, and by 
the navy of the Confederate States, in order that the friendships 
formed may be perpetuated, and that the memory of the deeds 
achieved by the Confederate arms, on land and sea, may be pre- 
served and the truth of history vindicated, and justice done to 
the living and the dead. 

The meeting then adopted a plan of organization for the Army 
of Northern Virginia Association, and elected (or appointed 
through the Chair) the following officers : 



Lieutenant-General JUBAL A. EARLY. 

Corresponding Secretary. 

Recording Secretary . 


Executive Committee. 

Brigadier- General Bradley T. Johnson, Chairman. 
Colonel Robert E. Withers. Brigadier-General James II. Lane. 
Colonel John S. Mosby. Capt. J. Ham Chamberlayne. 

Colonel Thomas H. Carter. Segeant J. VanLew McCreery. 
Major Robert Stiles. Captain Mann Page. 

Brigadier-General W. II. Payne. 

Vice-Presidents and Assistants appointed by the President. 

Maryland — Major-General I. R. Trimble, Vice-President. 

Brigadier-General Geo. H. Stetjart, ) ,. 
Colonel R. Snowden Andrews, f Assistants. 

Virginia — Major-General Fitzhugh Lee, Vice-President. 

Brigadier-General VVm. B. Taliaferro, } Assistants in East- 
Brigadier-General James L. Kemper, j ern Virginia. 

Brigadier-General John McCausland, \ Assistants in West- 
Colonel John S. Hoffman, J em Virginia. 

Kentucky — Major-General John C. Breckinridge, Vice-President. 
Brigadier-General Basil Duke, 1 . . , 
Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston, / Ai " bunb ' 

Tennessee — Lieutenant-General R. S. Ewell, Vice-President. 
Brigadier-General Vaughan, j 

The senior surviving officer of the Tennessee reg- > Assistants. 
iinents in Archer's old brigade, J 

N. Carolina— Major-General D. II. Hill. Vice-President. 
Major-Ge.ieral R F\ Hokb, | 
Brigadier-General Scales, J 

S. Carolina — Lieutenant-General Wadk Hampton, Vice-President. 

Major-General J. B. Kershaw,! . . • f ,,, f . 
>> • ,• /-, i >. .-, > Ai-.-istants. 

Brigadier-General McGoWAN, J 

Georgia— Major-General John B. Gordon, Vice-President. 
Brigadier-General A. R. Wright, \ ^ s ^ t ants 
Brigadier-General Benning, j- ^ . s .. . 

Alabama — Brigadier-General Battle, Vice-President. 

Brigadier-General Forney,! , ,;,f„„f, 
, , , , ., . A , XT > Assistants. 

Colonel E. A. O'Neal, f 

Mississippi— Lieutenant-General S. D. Lee, Vice-President. 

Brigadier-General B. G. HUMPHREYS,) y-^istants 
Brigadier-General W T. Martin, J * 


Louisiana— General G. T. Beauregard. Vice-President. 
Mxjor-General Dabney H. Maury, "1 . . 
Brigadier-General William R. Peck, f A£MS a 

Arkansas — Brigadier-General William L. Cabell. Vice-President. 
The two senior surving officers of the Arkansas \ 

regiments which were in the Army of North- l Assistants. 
em Virginia, J 

Texas — Brigadier-General Robinson, Vice-President. 

The senior surviving officer of the regiments of) 

Robinson's brigade. I Assistants. 

Major William P. Townsend, J 

Florida — Brigadier-General Perry, Vice-President. 

The two senior surviving officers of the regi- ) . . . , 
ments in Perry's brigade, / Assistants. 


In presenting the report of the Committee, General Johnson 

Comrades and Friends — I have been instructed to report the 
plan just read for the organization of the Association of the 
Army of Northern Virginia. 

That plan proposes a General Association, of which General 
Early is to be President, with Secretaries, Treasurer, and an 
Executive Committee of ten, together with a Vice-President and 
two assistants for each State, who are to be members of the 
General Association, and who are charged with the duty of 
organizing the Society in the States to which they belong. These 
State Societies are called Divisions, and are to have subordinated 
to them sub-societies, to be called Sections. The Sections report 
to the Divisions, and the Divisions to the Association. The 
duty of all is to collect materials for history, muster rolls and all 
other information relative to the Army of Northern Virginia, 
and forward them to the General Society, in whose archives they 
will be deposited, in charge of Colonel Venable, as Recording 
Secretary. Thus we will accumulate whatever we can of mate- 
rial for future history, that the achievements of that army may 
be perpetuated and justice be done our dead comrades, ourselves 
and the cause for which they fell. 

We hope by future meetings to preserve the friendships 
formed in the service of our country, and. as long as we live to 
show the world and our fellow countrymen how proud we are 
of the part which it has been our good fortune to have borne in 
our great contest for civil liberty 

Among the greatest crimes known to civilization is the muti- 
lation of the corpses and the desecration of the memories of the 


dead. And yet so far as we are concerned, such has been the 
treatment which our departed comrades have experienced at the 
hands of our conquerors. 

After the surrender of the Confederate armies, all our records 
and the archives of our Adjutant-General's office were taken 
possession of at Charlotte, North Carolina, and they are now 
preserved in a special bureau at Washington. The evidence they 
contain is, for us, invaluable; and yet, within the last few months, 
when application was made by a gentleman of rank now before 
me, for leave to examine those records, in order to get informa- 
tion for the use of the highest authority as to this war, recog- 
nized by you and me, he was informed that all inquiries would 
be answered, but no examination of them would be allowed by 

Thus the materials of our history, the weapons of our defence, 
and the arguments of our complete and thorough vindication and 
justification, as an army, are in the hands of our enemies, who 
refuse us access to them. It behooves us, therefore, diligently to 
collect from our surviving comrades all such matter as they have 
on paper, or in their recollection, so that we may supply the 
place of and even more than supplement those records so sedu- 
lously sealed at Washington. 

We propose to testify to the world and to history our abiding 
faith and perfe6l confidence in the cause in which we fought, as 
the cause of Patriotism and Honor, Justice and Right, and, above 
all, that it is the cause of constitutional and civil liberty on this 
continent. We are not of those who believe that this is a lost 
cause. The race from which we sprang have made this contest, 
time and again, in the last thousand years. Over and over, our 
ancestors have made the issue of physical force in favor of liberty 
against irresponsible power. Many times they have failed, as we 
have done, before the overwhelming odds of numbers or wealth, 
or organization or resources, arrayed against and pressed on them. 
Many times they have fallen, crushed, as it seemed, beneath the 
enormous mass of power hurled on them. Thus it seemed when 
the State absorbed all the power of the Barons and all the estates 
of the Church, and the liberties of the Commons of Kngland 
appeared lost forever Thus it seemed when the Long Parlia- 
ment rode triumphant over the heritage of British freedom, and 
when the system of Stafford seemed to have established the Star 
Chamber and abolished the trial by jury. But these were only 
incidents of the struggle, and the freeborn race rose and re-estab- 
lished their rights, regaining by arms what had been bought by 
blood. So we believe that the issue of the late struggle is but 
temporary. That State rights are but the incidents to preserve 


public liberty That all institutions staked and lost were but the 
means to accomplish our end, the perpetuation of our liberties and 
rights, inherited from our fathers centuries before the Puritans 
touched Plymouth Rock or the Cavalier landed at Jamestown. 
They were but the earthworks which we then defended — great 
and important bulwarks and defences to be sure — but when they 
are lost all is not lost. 

The great defences are still left. Trial by jury, free speech, 
free press, a voice in government and a share in making the laws. 
With these weapons we shall regain our lost rights, we shall 
recover our despoiled liberties, making the contest with the sure 
and steady belief in the certainty of success, and the fixed and 
ready purpose, whenever it is necessary and unavoidable, again 
to vindicate our worthiness of victory and liberty, as our fathers 
have done from Runny Mede down to Manassas. 

For awhile, the disasters which befell us clouded our vision, 
and the dust of the battle we mistook for the darkness of death. 
But time has enabled us to see that though broken in fortune, 
shattered in our civil constitution, pressed beneath the yoke of 
conquest, the ancestral spirit is still burning, the ancestral love 
of liberty is still unquenchable, and with the coming years our 
ability to achieve our deliverance will be ever increasing. 

With a firm faith in the future, with a perfect belief in the 
blood which flows in our veins, we move on with a certain con- 
fidence that we or our children will regain all we have tempo- 
rarily lost, and in the meantime we teach them to revere, love 
and honor the memory of the great men who fell in defence of 
the Starry Cross, and to cherish and maintain the cause in which 
it waved and for which they fell. 

In propounding the question on the adoption of the resolutions 
from the Committee on Organization of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, General Early made the following remarks : 

My Friends — I will take the liberty of saying a word or two 
to you before taking the vote on the proposition now before you. 
There are very many facts illustrative of the devotion of our 
soldiers, which, though not proper to have been introduced into 
the formal official reports which were made at the time, ought 
not to be lost to history. Let it be our care to collect all these, 
and put them in a tangible form for the use of the future histo- 
rian who shall undertake to portray our wonderful struggle. 
The duty of preserving the facts and putting them in some 
available form I have constantly urged since the close of the war. 
This duty ought to be performed, whether the parties who 


furnish them shall think proper to publish them or not. In the 
last interview I had with General Lee, in speaking of that last 
hour of the struggle, when he so reluctantly surrendered at Ap- 
pomattox, he informed me that in fact there were only seven 
thousand five hundred men who were surrendered with arms in 
their hands; and he told me that before going to that interview which 
resulted in the surrender, he gave orders to that gallant Georgian, 
who he knew and I knew, and every one who came in contact with 
him knew, never failed to obey with alacrity all orders given to 
him, and when occasion required did not wait for orders — I mean 
General John B. Gordon, whom I am happy to meet and welcome 
here — and that other, whose name I will not call on this occasion, 
for reasons you will perhaps understand — to hold their com- 
mands in readiness to fight, with the determination to cut his 
way out at all hazards, if such terms were not granted as he thought 
his army was entitled to demand. Now, gentlemen, of all who 
gained honor in the war, in my opinion, the private soldier who 
volunteered in the beginning, without waiting for the conscript 
officer, and after doing his duty was found with arms in hand at 
Appomattox, still ready to obey the orders of his Commander, 
is entitled to take rank with the proudest, and the names of all 
such ought to preserved and transmitted to posterity 

The report of the Committee was adopted unanimously and 
with great enthusiasm. 

The two meetings were attended by immense crowds, and it 
was a touching scene as these veterans of an hundred battles 
gathered to honor their grand old Chieftain and take measures 
to vindicate the cause for which they fought. 




On the 2d day of November, 1 87 1, the "Virginia Division of 
the Army of Northern Virginia Association" was organized at a 
meeting held in the Hall of the House of Delegates, in the State 
Capitol, at Richmond. A suitable constitution and by-laws were 
adopted, and the following officers elected : 

President — General Fitzhugh Lee. 

Vice-Presidents — General Edward Johnson, General James A. 

Secretaries — General James H. Lane, Colonel Joseph Mayo, Jr. 

Treasurer — Major Robert Stiles. 

Executive Committee — General William B. Taliaferro, General 
William H. Payne, General D S. YVeisiger, Colonel F W M. 
Holliday, and Colonel James H. Skinner. 


The second annual meeting was held in the State Capitol, Rich- 
mond, on Thursday evening, October 31st, 1872, when, in the 
absence of the orator elect (General John B. Gordon, of Georgia, 
who was detained by sickness in his family), there were stirring 
speeches by the President, General Fitzhugh Lee, Colonel Joseph 
Mayo, Jr., General J. A. Early, and General W H. Payne. 

The following officers for the ensuing year were elected : 

President — General Fitzhugh Lee. 

Vice-Presidents — General Edward Johnson and General J. A. 

Executive Committee — General William H. Payne, Sergeant J. 
V L. McCreery, Lieutenant John E. Laughton, Colonel Walter 
K. Martin, Colonel Thomas H. Carter. 


Thursday evening, October 30th, 1873, a large crowd assem- 
bled in the State Capitol at Richmond. After an appropriate 
prayer by Rev. Dr. Minnigerode, General Fitzhugh Lee made 
brief but stirring remarks, and appropriately presented as the 
chosen orator of the occasion, Colonel Charles S. Venable, the 
tried and trusted staff-officer of General R. E. Lee, who was greeted 
with enthusiastic applause, and was frequently interrupted with 
applause as he delivered the following address : 


Comrades and Friends — Warmly appreciating the kindness and 
good-will of the Executive Committee in extending to me the 
honor of an invitation to address you on this occasion, and recog- 
nizing the duty of every Confederate soldier in Virginia to do 
his part in the promotion of the objects of this Association, I am 
here in obedience to your call. Fellow soldiers, we are not here 
to mourn over that which we failed to accomplish ; to indulge in 
vain regrets of the past; to repine because, in accepting the stern 
arbitrament of arms, we have lost; nor merely to make vain-glo- 
rious boast of victories achieved and deeds of valor done. But 
we are met together as citizens of Virginia, as American freemen 
(a title won for us by the valor and wisdom of our forefathers), 
with a full sense of our responsibilities in the present and in the 
future which lies before us, to renew the friendships formed in 
that time of trial and of danger, when at the call of our grand 
old Mother we stood shoulder to shoulder in her defence. More 
than this : we are met to preserve to Virginia — to the South and 
to America — the true records of the valor, the constancy and 
heroic fortitude of the men who fought on field and flood under 
the banner of the Southern Cross. With this view, I have 
thought it not inappropriate on this occasion to give a brief out- 
line of some facts and incidents of the campaign of the Army 
of Northern Virginia from the Wilderness to Petersburg, which 
may be of some little use as a memoir to some future seeker after 
historic truth. I am aware that in this I am in danger of repeat- 
ing much that has been told by different biographers and histo- 
rians ; but my desire is to give correctly some incidents of which 


I was an eye-witness in that wonderful campaign, and to state in 
brief outline some facts — accurate contemporary knowledge of 
which I had the opportunity of obtaining — and to present these in 
their proper connection with the statements of high Federal autho- 
rities. These incidents will enable us, in some measure, to appre- 
ciate that self-sacrificing devotion to duty which characterized 
our great leader, and will serve to show how worthy the men of 
that army, which he loved so well, were of his confidence and 
leadership. And here let me say that no man but a craven, 
unworthy of the name of American freeman, whether he fought 
with us or against us — whether his birthplace be in the States of the 
South or in the States of the North — would desire to obliterate a 
single page or erase a single line of the fair record of their glo- 
rious deeds. 

When General Lee set out from Orange Courthouse on the 
morning of the fourth of May to meet the Army of the Potomac, 
which moved at midnight of the third of May from Cul- 
peper, he took with him Ewell's corps (diminished by General 
Robert Johnston's North Carolina brigade, then at Hanover Court- 
house, and Hoke's North Carolina brigade of Early's division, 
which was in North Carolina) and Heth's and Wilcox's divisions 
of A P Hill's corps, leaving Anderson's division of Hill's corps 
on the Rapidan heights, with orders to follow the next day, and 
ordering Longstreet to follow on with his two divisions (Kershaw's 
and Field's) from Gordonsville. So, on May 5th, General Lee 
had less than twenty-six thousand infantry in hand. He resolved 
to throw his heads of columns on the Old turnpike road and the 
Plank road, and his cavalry on the Catharpin road on his right, 
against General Grant's troops, then marching through the Wil- 
derness to turn our position at Orange Courthouse. This was 
a movement of startling boldness when we consider the tremen- 
dous odds. General Grant's forces at the beginning of the cam- 
paign have been given as more than one hundred and forty thous- 
and of all arms, or about one hundred and twenty thousand in- 
fantry, and all of these, except Burnside's corps of twenty thous- 
and, were across the river with him on the 5th. General Lee 
had less than fifty-two thousand men of all arms, or forty-two 
thousand infantry — fifteen thousand of which, under Longstreet 
and Anderson, a day's march from him, and the two North Caro- 
lina brigades, under Johnston and Hoke, which reached him, the 
one on the 6th of May, and the other on the 21st of May — at 
Spotsylvania Courthouse. And here in the beginning was re- 
vealed one great point in General Lee's bold strategy, and that 
was his profound confidence in the steady valor of his troops, 
and in their ability to maintain themselves successfully against 


very heavy odds — a confidence justified by his past experience 
and by the results of this campaign. He himself rode with Gen- 
eral A. P Hill at the head of his column. The advance of the 
enemy was met at Parker's store and soon brushed away, and the 
march continued to the Wilderness. Here Hill's troops came 
in contact with the enemy's infantry and the fight began. This 
battle on the Plank road was fought immediately under the eye 
of the Commanding-General. The troops, inspired by his presence, 
maintained the unequal fight with great courage and steadiness. 
Once only there was some wavering, which was immediately 
checked. The odds were very heavy against these two divisions 
(Heth's and Wilcox's), which were together about ten thousand 
strong. The battle first began with Getty's Federal division, 
which was soon reinforced by the Second corps, under General Han- 
cock. Hancock had orders, with his corps and Getty's division 
of the Sixth corps, to drive Hill back to Parker's store. This he 
tried to accomplish, but his repeated and desperate assaults were 
repulsed. Before night Wadsworth's division and a brigade from 
Warren's corps were sent to help Hancock, thus making a force 
of more than forty thousand men, which was hurled at these 
devoted ten thousand until 8 o'clock P M. in unavailing efforts to 
drive them from their position. 

Ewell's corps, less than sixteen thousand strong, had repulsed 
Warren's corps on the Old turnpike, inflicting a loss of three 
thousand men or more, and two pieces of artillery Rosser, on our 
right, with his cavalry brigade, had driven back largely superior 
numbers of Wilson's cavalry division on the Catharpin road. 
These initial operations turned Grant's forces from the wide 
sweeping march which they had begun, to immediate and ur- 
gent business in the Wilderness. The army which he had set 
out to destroy had come up in the most daring manner and 
presented itself in his pathway. That General Lee's bold strategy 
was very unexpected to the enemy, is. well illustrated by the fact 
recorded by Swinton, the Federal historian, that when the ad- 
vance of Warren's corps struck the head of Ewell's column, on 
the morning of the 5th, General Meade said to those around 
him, "They have left a division to fool us here, while they con- 
centrate and prepare a position on the North Anna; and what I 
want is to prevent these fellows from getting back to Mine Run." 
Mine Run was to that General doubtless a source of unpleasant 
reminiscences of the previous campaign. General Lee soon sent 
a message to Longstreet to make a night march and bring up 
his two divisions at daybreak on the 6th. He himself slept on 
the field, taking his headquarters a few hundred yards from the 
line of battle of the day It was his intention to relieve Hill's 


two divisions with Longstreet's, and throw them farther to the 
left, to fill up a part of the great unoccupied interval between the 
Plank road and Ewell's right, near the Old turnpike, or use them 
on his right, as the occasion might demand. It was unfortunate 
that any of these troops should have become aware they were to 
be relieved by Longstreet. It is certain that owing to this im- 
pression, Wilcox's division, on the right, was not in condition to 
receive Hancock s attack at -early dawn on the morning of the 
6th, by which they were driven back in considerable confusion. 
In fact some of the brigades of Wilcox's division came back 
in disorder, but sullenly and without panic, entirely across 
the Plank road, where General Lee and the gallant Hill in person 
helped to rally them. The assertion, made by several writers, 
that Hill's troops were driven back a mile and a half, is a most 
serious mistake. The right of his line was thrown back several 
hundred yards, but a portion of the troops still maintained their 
position. The danger, however, was great, and General Lee sent 
his trusted Adjutant, Colonel W H. Taylor, back to Parker's 
store, to get the trains ready for a movement to the rear. He 
sent an aid also to hasten the march of Longstreet's divisions. 
These came the last mile and a half at a double quick, in parallel 
columns, along the Plank road. General Longstreet rode forward 
with that imperturable coolness which always characterized him 
in times of perilous action, and began to put them in position on 
the right and left of the road. His men came to the front of 
disordered battle with a steadiness unexampled even among vete- 
rans, and with an elan which presaged restoration of our battle 
and certain victory When they arrived, the bullets of the enemy 
on our right flank had begun to sweep the field in the rear of the 
artillery pits on the left of the road, where General Lee was giving 
directions and assisting General Hill in rallying and reforming 
his troops. It was here that the incident of Lee's charge with 
Gregg's Texas brigade occurred. The Texans cheered lustily as 
their line of battle, coming up in splendid style, passed by Wil- 
cox's disordered columns, and swept across our artillery pit and 
its adjacent breastwork. Much moved by the greeting of these 
brave men and their magnificent behavior, General Lee spurred 
his horse through an opening in the trenches and followed close 
on their line as it moved rapidly forward. The men did not 
perceive that he was going with them until they had advanced 
some distance in the charge; when they did, there came from 
the entire line, as it rushed on, the cry, "Go back, General Lee! 
Go back!" Some historians like to put this in less homely 
words ; but the brave Texans did not pick their phrases. " We 
won't go on unless you go back ! " A sergeant seized his bridle 


rein. The gallant General Gregg (who laid down his life on the 
9th October, almost in General Lee's presence, in a desperate 
charge of his brigade on the enemy's lines in the rear of Fort Har- 
rison), turning his horse towards General Lee, remonstrated with 
him. Just then I called his attention to General Longstreet, whom 
he had been seeking, and who sat on his horse on a knoll to the 
right of the Texans, directing the attack of his divisions. He 
yielded with evident reluctance to the entreaties of his men, and 
rode up to Longstreet's position. With the first opportunity I 
informed General Longstreet of what had just happened, and he, 
with affectionate bluntness, urged General Lee to go farther 
back. I need not say the Texans went forward in their charge 
and did well their duty They were eight hundred strong, and 
lost half their number killed and wounded on that bloody day. 
The battle was soon restored, and the enemy driven back to their 
position of the night before. Wilcox's and Heth's divisions 
were placed in line, a short distance to the left of the Plank road. 
General Lee's immediate presence had done much to restore 
confidence to these brave men and to inspire the troops who 
came up with the determination to win at all hazards. A short 
time afterwards General Anderson's division arrived from Orange 
Courthouse. The well-known flank attack was then planned and 
put into execution, by which Longstreet put in, from his own and 
Anderson's divisions, three brigades on the right flank of the 
enemy, rolled it up in the usual manner, uncovering his own 
front, thus completely defeating Hancock's force and sending it 
reeling back on the Brock road. The story of this and of 
Longstreet's unfortunate wounding is familiar to all. His glori- 
ous success and splendid action on the field had challenged the 
admiration of all. As an evidence of the spirit of the men on 
this occasion, the Mississippi brigade of Heth's division, com- 
manded by the gallant Colonel Stone, though the division was 
placed further to the left, out of the heat of battle, preferred 
to remain on the right, under heavy fire, and fought gallantly 
throughout the day under Longstreet. 

When General Grant commenced his change of base and turn- 
ing operation on the evening of the 7th, General Lee, with firm 
reliance on the ability of a small body of his troops to hold heavy 
odds in check until he could bring assistance, sent Anderson, who 
had been promoted to the command of Longstreet's two divisions, 
to confront his columns at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Stuart, too, 
threw his cavalry across Grant's line of march on the Brock road. 
The enemy's cavalry (division) failing to dislodge Stuart, gave up 
the accomplishment of that work to the Fifth corps (Warren's). 
When Anderson arrived at Spotsylvania Courthouse, he found 


the cavalry (Fitz. Lee's division), at the Courthouse, maintaining 
gallantly an unequal fight with the Fifth corps and Torbert's cav- 
alry division. Torbert was checked on his right, and Stuart, with 
with the assistance of several brigades of infantry sent to him by 
Anderson, soon created in the enemy what Swinton describes as 
"an excited and nervous condition of mind and a tendency to 
stampede" — ascribed by him, however, to want of rest and Wil- 
derness experience. Stuart stopped their advance, and they fell 
to entrenching of their own accord. The conduct and skill of 
Stuart in this fight on the 8th, on which so much depended, 
always met the warm approval of the Commanding-General, and 
he spoke of it, with grateful remembrance, in the days of March, 
'65, when disasters began to crowd upon us. Let us lay this laurel 
on the tomb of him who so soon afterwards rendered up his life 
leading, with heroic courage, his mere handful of wearied men 
against Sheridan's overwhelming numbers. That General Grant 
did not push up other troops to Warren's assistance to enable 
him to drive these two divisions (now perhaps not more than 
eight thousand strong) from his front, is attributable to the fact 
that he detained Hancock (the nearest supporting corps) to meet 
an anticipated attack from General Lee on his rear. That Gene- 
ral Lee with his small force, reduced by two days' heavy fighting, 
should check this great body of one hundred and twenty thous- 
and infantry (reduced by Wilderness experience), and at the same 
time threaten its rear and cause the Federal commander to send 
to Washington for reinforcements, is a thing almost unparalleled 
in the history of war. On General Lee's arrival with Ewell's 
corps in the afternoon, after a second repulse of the enemy, the line 
of Spotsylvania was taken up. That a part of the line was weak 
on Rodes' right and General Edward Johnson's salient, has often 
been asserted. The reason for taking it was that the road in the 
rear might be left free from missiles for the convenient use of the 

The repulse of Hancock's corps in its attempt to threaten our 
left and rear by General Early with Heth's division, and the 
terrible repulses given by Anderson's corps (Field's and Ker- 
shaw's divisions) to the repeated assaults of heavy columns, 
thrown against them from the Second and Fifth corps, and to the 
grand assault by both of these corps simultaneously at five o'clock 
in the afternoon, are matters of record. The odds here were 
seven or eight thousand men against one-half the Federal in- 
fantry Nothing but the absolute steadiness and coolness of our 
men could have met and repelled these onslaughts. Our men 
would often call out, "Yonder they come, boys, with five lines of 
battle!" and after driving them back, would creep out cautiously 


and gather up the muskets and cartridges of the dead braves who 
had fallen nearest our line; so that to meet subsequent attacks, 
many of the men were provided each with several loaded mus- 
kets. This extemporaneous substitute for breech-loaders was not 
to be despised when we consider the thinness of our troops in 
the defences, the absence of reserves, the tremendous odds of the 
Federal forces, and the remorseless manner with which their 
corps commanders sent them into these repeated assaults. 

Indeed, it became pitiful to see the slaughter of these brave 
men in their unavailing attacks and to hear their groans as they 
lay dying near the Confederate line. One brave youth, a ser- 
geant of a New York regiment, who fell shot through both knees 
not far from our breastworks, was for many hours an especial 
object of sympathy to his foes. He was seen making in his 
misery vain efforts at self-destruction. Repeated attempts were 
made by our men to bring him in, but the Federal sharpshooters 
were very active and rendered it impossible to get to him, and on 
the nth May, when the Federal forces had withdrawn from that 
part of our line, there, amidst the blackened, swollen corpses of 
the assailants, whose sufferings had been more brief, lay this boy 
with the fresh, fair face of one just dead. 

On the afternoon of the ioth a portion of the Sixth corps 
(General Sedgwick's) succeeded in piercing Rodes' line on the 
front, occupied by Dole's Georgia brigade. General Lee had his 
quarters for the day on a knoll about a hundred and fifty yards 
in the rear of this part of the lines and in full view of it. He at 
once sent an aid-de-camp to General Edward Johnson, on Rodes' 
right, and mounting his horse, assisted in rallying the troops and 
forming them for the recapture of the lines. Under his eye, 
Rodes' troops and Gordon's brigade, which had been brought up 
from the left, went forward in handsome style, recovering the 
lines and the battery, which, after doing much execution at short 
range, had fallen into the hands of the attacking force. 

SwintCn, blindly followed by several other writers, speaks here 
of the capture of nine hundred prisoners from Rodes. This is 
an entire mistake — the captured were very few On the nth 
General Grant withdrew from our left, and General Lee became 
convinced that he was going to swing round to turn our right; 
he, therefore, ordered the artillery on a portion of our left to be 
withdrawn from the immediate front so as to be ready to move 
at a moment's notice. On that night General Johnson, hearing 
the enemy massing on his front, sent a message to his corps com- 
mander (General l'well) asking the return of his artillery He 
also sent to General Gordon, commanding Early's division, asking 
a reinforcement of two brigades (Hays' and Pcgram s), which he 


placed in a second line on the rear of what he considered the 
weakest of his defences. 

The delay of the artillery and consequent disaster to Johnson s 
division are matters of record. The actual loss in captures was 
about three thousand men (his division was four thousand strong 
at the beginning of the campaign) and eighteen pieces of artillery, 
which the enemy did not get, however, for twenty hours. Johnson's 
message to his corps commander about the massing of the enemy 
in his front did not reach General Lee. He usually, in these 
days at Spotsylvania, left the battlefield at nine or ten o'clock in 
the evening for his tent, a short distance in the rear. Rising at 
3 A. M. and breakfasting by candle light, he returned to the front. 
On the morning of the 12th, hearing the firing, he rode rapidly 
forward, but did not know of the disaster to Johnson's division 
until he reached the front. Before he arrived, Brigadier-General 
Gordon, commanding Early's division, in obedience to orders 
previously given by General Lee to support any portion of the 
line about the salient which might be attacked, hearing the firing 
about daylight, had moved forward towards the salient with his 
division. Moving in column in the dim light, with General 
Robert Johnston's North Carolina brigade in front, he came in 
contact with Hancock's line advancing through the woods, it having 
overrun General Edward Johnson's division, capturing his lines 
and a large number of his men. The enemy's line thus moving 
on stretched across our works on both their flanks, thus taking 
our men in the trenches on both sides the captured angle com- 
pletely in flank. They fired on Gordon's advancing column, 
severely wounding General Robert Johnston and causing some 
confusion among the men. It was still not light — the woods 
dense, and the morning rainy. A line of troops could not be 
seen a hundred yards off. It was a critical moment. Gordon 
halted his column, and with that splendid audacity which charac- 
terized him, deployed a brigade as skirmishers — extending, as he 
supposed, across the whole Federal front — and ordered a charge 
by this line of skirmishers. This charge caused that part of the 
Federal troops whose front they covered to hesitate long enough 
to enable him to get his troops into line; but the Federal line on 
Gordon's right still pressed on, threatening his right-rear and the 
right flank of Hill's corps (commanded by General Early) in the 
trenches. They were here checked by General Lane's North 
Carolina brigade, who, throwing his left flank back from the 
trenches, confronted their advance. 

Gordon soon arranged the left of his division to make an effort 
to recapture the lines by driving the enemy back with his right. 
As he was about to move forward with his Georgia and Virginia 


brigades in the charge, General Lee, who had reached the front 
a few minutes before, rode up and joined him. Seeing that Lee 
was about to ride with him in the charge, the scene of the 6th of 
May was repeated. Gordon pointed to his Georgians and Vir- 
ginians, who had never failed him, and urged him to go to the 
rear. This incident has passed into history, and I will not repeat 
the details here. Suffice it to say Lee yielded to his brave 
men, accepting their promise to drive the enemy back. Gordon, 
carrying the colors, led them forward in a headlong, resistless 
charge, which carried every thing before it, recapturing the 
trenches on the right of the salient, and a portion of those on the 
left, recovering some of the lost guns and leaving the rest of 
them on disputed ground between our troops and the portion of 
the line still held by the enemy. As Hancock's left and centre 
were thus checked by Gordon s audacious line of skirmishers 
and Lane's disposition of his brigade on Hill's left, and finally 
hurled back by this splended charge of Gordon's brigades, so his 
right was met by Ramseur's North Carolina brigade, of General 
Rodes' division, who attacked and pressed it steadily back towards 
the angle. Rodes bringing up the rest of his division to Ram- 
seur's assistance, Hancock was thrown completely back on that 
portion of the captured line to the left of the salient, and here, in 
this narrow space, was waged the tremendous combat throughout 
the entire day. In the space between the contending lines lay 
fourteen of the eighteen pieces of artillery, swept over by the Fed- 
erals as they leaped into the salient in the early morning, before they 
were even unlimbered — neither party being able to take posession 
of them. What was left of Johnson s division had been im- 
mediately attached to Gordon s command, and at an early hour 
a portion of Gordon's men were set to work to make a strong 
entrenched line, about three hundred yards in rear of the cap- 
tured salient, in order thus to render its occupation of no advan- 
tage to the foe. 

The Sixth corps was sent by General Grant about 6 A. M. to 
reinforce Hancock, and somewhat later he sent two divisions of 
Warren's corps. General Lee sent to the assistance of General 
Rodes, on whose front the confined battle raged, three brigades 
during the day — McGowan's South -Carolina brigade, Perrin's 
Alabama brigade and Harris' brigade of Mississippians. Now, 
Rodes' division at the beginning of the campaign was about six 
thousand five hunflred muskets, and it had already done some 
heavy fighting in the Wilderness and on the Spotsylvania lines. 
The brigades sent to his assistance did not number twenty-five 
hundred men. So that Rodes, with less than ten thousand men, 
kept back for eighteen hours more than one-half of General 



Grant's infantry, supported by a heavy fire of Federal artillery. 
There was one continuous roll of musketry from dawn till mid- 
night. The Spotsylvania tree cut down by bullets was a proof, 
not only of the closeness of the contestants, but of the narrow 
space to which the battle was confined. During the day there 
was a second repetition of the occurrence of the 6th May. Gene- 
ral Lee had his position nearly all day near a point on Heth's 
line to the left of Spotsylvania Courthouse. Rodes sent to him 
asking for reinforcements. He sent me to the right of the line 
to guide Harris' brigade of Mississippians from the right of our 
line down to Rodes. The brigade, in coming across from the 
right, passed near General Lee's position. He rode out from a 
little copse alone and placed himself by General Harris' side at 
the head of his column. Soon the troops came under the artillery 
fire of the enemy General Lee's horse reared under the fire, 
and a round shot passed under him very near the rider's stirrup. 
The men halted and shouted to him to go back, and, in fact, 
refused to move if he marched with them. He told them he 
would go back if they would only promise him to retake 
the lines. The men shouted, in response, "We will! We 
will, General Lee!" He then repeated the order to me to 
guide them down to General Rodes, and rode slowly away 
towards Heth's lines. The Mississippians marched on with 
steady step to the front — " Into the mouth of hell, marched the 
eight hundred;" theirs but to do and die, for they had promised 
Lee. They cheered lustily the gallant Rodes, as they passed 
into the deadly fray Coming in at a time when Ramseur was 
heavily pressed, the day was saved. This was the last reinforce- 
ment sent in. The lines were not retaken, but the enemy was 
pressed back into the narrow angle and held there on the defen- 
sive until midnight. The homely simplicity of General Lee in 
these scenes of the 6th and 12th of May, is in striking contrast 
with the theatrical tone of the famous order of Napoleon at 
Austerlitz, in which he said: "Soldiers, I will keep myself at a 
distance from the fire, if with your accustomed valor you carry 
disorder and confusion into the enemy's ranks; but if victory 
appear uncertain, you will see your Emperor expose himself in 
the front of battle." It is the contrast of the simple devotion to 
duty of the Christian patriot, thoughtless of self, fighting 
for all that men held dear, with the selfish spirit of the soldier of 
fortune, " himself the only god of his idolatry." 

I have been thus particular in giving this incident, because it 
has been by various writers of the life of Lee confounded with 
the other two incidents of a like character which I have before 
given. In fact, to our great Commander, "so low in his opinion 


of himself and so sublime in all his actions," these were matters 
of small moment; and when written to by a friend in Maryland 
(Judge Mason), after the war, as to whether such an incident 
ever occurred, replied, briefly, " Ves; General Gordon was the 
Genera!" — alluding thus concisely to the incident of the early 
morning of the 12th, when General Gordon led the charge, pass- 
ing over the similar occurrences entirely, in his characteristic 
manner of never speaking of himself when he could help it. 
But that which was a small matter to him was a great one to the 
men whom he thus led. 

At nightfall our line of battle still covered four of the eighteen 
contested guns. The interior line was finished later, and our 
wearied heroes were withdrawn to it about midnight. Unfortu- 
nately, the four recaptured pieces, through the darkness of the 
night and difficulty of the ground, became bogged in a swamp 
while being brought off, and so were left outside of the new lines 
and fell again into the hands of the enemy 

During the day, the enemy, under the impression that General 
Lee had weakened his lines to reinforce our troops in Hancock's 
front, made an attack, which was repulsed with heavy loss to the 
attacking column. The repulse of this attack of Burnside on 
Wilcox's front, the splendid execution done by the artillery of 
Heth s line on the flank of the attacking party, and the counter 
attacks by brigades of Hill's corps, sent out in front of our lines 
during the day, have been recorded by the graphic pen of Gene- 
ral Earlv, who had been assigned to the command on account of 
General Hill's sickness on the 7th of Ma}'.* The restoration of 
the battle on the 12th, thus rendering; utterly futile the success 
achieved by Hancock's corps at daybreak, was a wonderful feat 
of arms, in which all the troops engaged deserve the greatest 
credit for endurance, constancy and unflinching courage; but 
without unjust discrimination, we may say that Gordon, Rodes 
and Ramseur were the heroes of this bloody day General Lee 
recommended Gordon to be made Major-General of date 12th 
May Rodes and Ramseur were destined alas! in a few short 
months, to lay down their noble lives in the Valley of Virginia. 
There was no victor's chaplet more highly prized by the Roman 
soldier than that woven of the grass of early spring. Then let 
the earliest flowers of May always be intertwined in the garlands 
which the pious hands of our fair women shall lay on the tombs 
of Rodes and Ramseur and of the gallant dead of the battle of 
twenty hours at Spotsylvania."!" 

♦Crucial Hill, though unable to sit un. i'i these days of Spotsylvania, would turn* himself 
drawn up in his ambulance intinediat -ly in rear of the 1 lies. Such was his aaxiety to be 
near Ilia troops. 

tThe question has been ask"d since the war why Ceneral Lee sent no telegram to Rich- 
mond concerning this iiatile oi Mav 12th. He did send such a telegram to the War Depart- 
ment. Of Its further history I know nothing. 


The captured angle, now useless to the enemy, was abandoned 
by them on the 14th. The attacks made on our lines by General 
Grant on the 14th and 18th were very easily repulsed. On the 
afternoon of the 19th, General Lee sent Ewell with his corps to 
the north side of the narrow Ni river to attack the Federal trains 
and threaten Grant's line of communication with Fredericksburg. 
After Ewell crossed and was already engaged with Tyler's divi- 
sion of the enemy, guarding the trains, General Lee became 
aware for the first time that on account of the difficulties of the 
way through the flats on the river, he had not taken his artillery 
with him. He was rendered uneasy by this, and sent orders to 
General Early to extend his left so as to close up, as far as prac- 
ticable, the gap between his corps and General Swell's. Fortu- 
nately, General Hampton, who accompanied Ewell with his cav- 
alry brigade, carried with him a battery of horse artillery, and 
did good service in relieving the difficulties of General Ewell's 
situation. In this movement some execution was done on some 
of Grant's newly arrived reinforcements before they were rein- 
forced by troops from the Second and Fifth corps. General 
Ewell withdrew to the south side of the Ni without much loss. 
This affair delayed the contemplated turning movement of the 
Federal army for twenty-four hours. 

On the night of the 20th of May, having discovered, after 
twelve days of hopeless effort, that Lee's position could not be 
carried, General Grant began his movement to the North Anna. 

General Lee had received no reinforcements since the begin- 
ning of the campaign, except the two absent brigades of Ewell's 
corps, mentioned before. He telegraphed to General Breckin- 
ridge, after the victory of the latter over Siegel at New Market 
on May 16th, to come to him with his division, and Pickett's 
division was moving to him from North Carolina and Petersburg. 

Grant left his dead unburied in large numbers both at the Wilder- 
ness and Spotsylvania Courthouse, and many thousand muskets 
scattered through the woods. The Confederates being in pos- 
session of these battlefields, the Ordnance officers were instructed 
to collect the materials of war left thereon. Among other things, 
they obtained more than one hundred and twenty-two thousand 
pounds of lead in bullets, which were recast in Richmond and 
fired again at the enemy before the close of the campaign. 

The head of Pickett's division reached the army as we began 
the march to the Northanna, and Breckinridge's division from 
the Valley, about two thousand seven hundred strong, was added 
to the Army of Northern Virginia at Hanover junction on the 
24th of May. 

When General Grant's troops, on the morning of May 23d, 


reached the north bank of the North Anna, he found the Army 
of Northern Virginia in position on the south side. Not much 
force was wasted in preventing the crossing of the Federal forces. 
W.arren's corps crossed on our left at Jericho ford, without oppo- 
sition, and Hancock soon overcame the few men left in the old 
earthworks at the bridge. Once on the south side it was another 
matter. General Grant found General Lee's centre near the 
river; his right reposed on the swamps and his left thrown back 
obliquely towards the Little river behind him. He discovered, 
at a heavy cost of life, that in this position he could make no pro- 
gress in attempting to force it. In fact one onslaught on our 
right was repulsed by merely doubling the line of skirmishers in 
front of the division (Rodes') attacked. The Federal com- 
mander says, in his report: "Finding the enemy's position on 
the North Anna stronger than either of his previous ones, I with- 
drew on the night of the 26th to the north bank of the North 
Anna." Says the chronicler of the Army of the Potomac: "The 
annals of war seldom present a more effective checkmate than 
was thus given by Lee." 

But it would be a mistake, in estimating General Lee as a 
soldier, to assume that it was his role to permit General Grant to 
move around his flank at will, and then to content himself by 
our interior and shorter lines, to throw himself across his path 
once more. He was constantly seeking an opportunity to attack 
the Federal army, now dispirited by the bloody repulses of the 
repeated attacks on our lines, so obstinately persisted in by 
General Grant. He hoped to strike the blow at the North Anna 
or between the Annas and the Chickahominy. He hoped much 
from an attack on Warren's corps, which, having crossed at Jeri- 
cho ford, several miles higher up the North Anna, lay in a haz- 
ardous position, separated from the rest of the Federal army. 
General Hill, who was now sufficiently recovered to be in the 
saddle, at the head of his corps, was also sanguine of success in 
this attack; but the main plan miscarried through some mishap, 
though one or two minor successes on this our left flank — nota- 
bly one by General Mahone's division — were effected. 

But, alas! in the midst of these operations on the North Anna, 
General Lee was taken sick and confined to his tent. As he lay 
prostrated by his sickness, he would often repeat: "We must 
strike them a blow; we must never let them pass us again — 
we must strike them a blow." But though he still had reports of 
the operations in the field constantly brought to him, and gave 
orders to his officers, Lee confined to his tent was not Lee on the 

I know it is unprofitable now to consider what might have 


happened, but I cannot refrain from venturing to express 
the opinion, that had not General Lee been physically disabled, 
he would have inflicted a heavy blow on the enemy in his march 
from the Pamunkey to the Chickahominy. An officer, whose 
opinions are entitled to much consideration, has often expressed 
the opinion that the opportunity was offered for this blow near 
Haw's shop, where the Confederate cavalry, under Hampton and 
Fitz. Lee, met General Sheridan, sustained heavily by the Fede- 
ral infantry However that may be, Grant found Lee always in 
his front whenever and wherever he turned. After some desul- 
tory but sharp fighting on the Totopotomoy, he found his old 
adversary in position at Cold Harbor* — a place, the reminiscen- 
ces of which were more inspiring to the Confederate than to the 
Federal troops. 

General Grant, as soon as he crossed the Pamunkey, made ar- 
rangements to draw troops to him from Butler, who was lying in 
compulsory leisure in his "Bermuda bottle." His reinforcements 
received before the arrival of those can be fairly estimated at 
more than fifty thousand men. These came to him by Acquia 
creek, Port Royal and the White House on York river, and in- 
cluding these four divisions drawn from the Tenth and Eigh- 
teenth corps, Northern authorities put Grant's effectives from 
the begining of the campaign up to the days of the Chicka- 
hominy conflict, at more than two hunderd and twenty thousand 
men of all arms. In addition to the troops already mentioned, 
General Lee drew to himself Hoke's division of Beauregard's 
army at Petersburg, and was reinforced by Finnegan's Florida 
brigade and Keitt's South Carolina regiment. These bodies, 
amounting to between seven and eight thousand men, came to 
him on the Chickahmoiny Our cavalry was also reinforced 
during the latter days in May by two regiments from South 
Carolina and a battalion from Georgia. 

The victory of the third of June, at Cold Harbor was per- 
haps the easiest ever granted to Confederate arms by the folly of 
Federal commanders. It was a general assault along a front of 
six miles and a bloody repulse at all points, and a partial success 
at one weak salient, speedily crushed by Finnegan's Floridians 
and the Maryland battalion. The loss on the Federal side was 
conceded to be about thirteen thousand ; on our side it was about 
twelve hundred. When a renewal of the attack was ordered by 
General Grant in the forenoon, most of his troops refused to 
move, and says, Swinton: " His immobile lines pronounced a silent 

*It may be worth noting that this Cold Harbor, now made famous by two great bat- 
tles, is the old English name for an ordinary or tavern, where the traveler could g ;t lodging 
without food. One of the sets of apartments in the town of London is called -'Cold Harbor." 


yet emphatic verdict against further slaughter." On the 4th of 
June we had a renewal of the painful scenes of Spotsylvania, 
with the dead and the dying assailants lying in front of our lines. 
On the 5th of June, General Grant asked permission to bury his 
dead. By that time his wounded, who had lain so long under 
the summer's sun, were now counted with the dying, and the 
dying with the dead. General Grant lay in his lines until the 
night of the 12th of June. The notice here of his "resolution 
to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer" seeming "now 
"to be sicklied o'er by the pale cast of thought." On that day 
Sheridan was defeated by Hampton, whose force consisted of 
his own and Fitz. Lee's divisions, at Trevyllian's depot. The 
main object of Sheridan's march towards Gordonsville was to 
make a junction with Hunter's and Crook's united corps, and 
bring it down to Grant's army. This operation being rendered 
impossible by Sheridan's defeat, on the night of the 12th of June, 
the Federal army began its march to the south side of the James. 
General Grant had at first been of the opinion that the south 
side of the James was the best position for attack, and doubtless 
his north side experience had made this opinion a positive con- 
viction. Says his chronicler: "The march of fifty-five miles 
across the peninsula was made in two days, and with perfect suc- 
cess." Surely after so much unsuccessful fighting, the Federal 
commander is entitled to all praise for this successful marching. 

The overland campaign was at an end. To the Federal army 
it had been a campaign of bloody repulses, and even when a 
gleam of success seemed to dawn upon it for a moment (as at the 
Plank road on May 6th and at Spotsylvania on the morning of 
the 1 2th), it was speedily extinguished in blood, and immediate 
disaster covered over the face of their rising star of victory. 
Says the historian of the Army of the Potomac: "So gloomy 
was the military outlook after the action of the Chickahominy. 
that there was at this time great danger of the collapse of the 
war. The history of this conflict, truthfully written, will show 
this. Had not success elsewhere come to brighten the horizon, 
it would have been difficult to have raised new forces to recruit 
the Army of the Potomac, which, shaken in its structure, its 
valor quenched in- blood and thousands of its ablest officers 
killed and wounded, was the Arm}- of the Potomac no more." 
In a foot note to this he adds : " The archives of the State Depart- 
ment, when one da}- made public, will show how deeply the Gov- 
ernment was affected by the want of military success, and to 
what resolutions the Executive had in consequence come." 

That the morale of General Lee's army was high at this time 
there can be no doubt. The strain of continuous bloodv fieht- 


ing at Spotsylvania had been great; but the campaigns of the 
North Anna and Chickahominy had given them much more re- 
pose. They were conscious of the success of the campaign, and 
were on better rations than they had been for a long time. The 
fat bacon and (Weathersfield?) onions brought in at that time 
from Nassau were very cheering to the flesh, and the almost 
prodigal charity with which several brigades contributed their 
rations to the suffering poor of Richmond was a striking incident 
in the story of these days on the Chickahominy. But cheerful 
and in high spirits though they were, there was a sombre tinge 
to the soldier wit in our thinned ranks which expressed itself in 
the homely phrase, "What is the used of killing these Yankees? 
it is like killing musquitoes — two come for every one you kill." 

As General Lee had sent Breckinridge back towards the Valley 
on June 8th and General Early, with the Second corps (now 
numbering about eight thousand muskets — it having suffered 
more than either of the other corps), on the 12th to meet Hunter 
at Lynchburg, and restored Hoke's division to General Beaure- 
gard at Petersburg, the odds against him were much increased, 
as he had now with him only from twenty-five to twenty-seven 
thousand infantry 

These bold movements show what he thought of the condition 
of the Federal army and his undiminished confidence in the 
morale of his own troops. 

When Grant reached the James in safety, after his successful 
march, he did not repose under the shadow of his gunboats, as 
did the sorely bruised McClellan in 1862. Being essentially a 
man of action and obstinate persistency — and, more than all, 
having the advantage of McClellan in the consciousness that his 
Government had staked all on him and would support him with 
all its resources — he crossed the James and pushed on to Peters- 
burg. He attacked Beauregard on the Petersburg lines on the 
15th with Smith's corps, sent in transports from the White House. 
Reinforcing Smith heavily, he attacked him again on the 16th, 
and pushed corps after corps to the front. On the 17th Beaure- 
gard had all Grant's army to deal with. Fighting against 
overwhelming numbers, he had exacted a bloody tribute for 
every foot gained by the enemy. Though Grant met with 
partial success in carrying the outer lines, held by a mere 
handful of troops, yet Beauregard's small force, strengthened by 
his brigades withdrawn from the Bermuda Hundred lines and by 
the return of Hoke's division from Cold Harbor, held him in 
check at the interior lines until General Lee's arrival, with rein- 
forcements, on the 1 8th of June. 

General Lee remained on the north side of the James until 


June 15th. On the night of that day he camped near Drewry's 
Bluff. On the 16th and 17th of June, he superintended person- 
ally the recapture of the Bermuda Hundred lines by Field's and 
Pickett's divisions. These lines had been occupied by Butler 
after the withdrawal of Beauregard's troops for the defence of 
Petersburg on the day before. The incident of the volunteer 
attack of our men on these lines, various incorrect versions of 
which have been given, happened thus : By the afternoon of the 
17th all of the line had been retaken except a portion in front of 
the Clay house. The order had been given to Generals Field 
and Pickett to move against them from the lines which they held. 
But meantime the engineers reported that the line already taken 
up by our troops was of sufficient strength, and that it would be 
an unnecessary waste of life to attack the part still held by the 
enemy. The orders to make the attack were countermanded by 
General Lee. This countermanding order reached General Field 
in time, but did not reach General Pickett until his troops were 
already involved in the attack under his orders. General Pickett 
sent a message to General Gregg, of the Texas brigade, of Field's 
division, which was next to his right, urging him to go in and 
protect his flank. Gregg consented at once, but could not wisely 
move until he had sent a like message to the troops on his right, 
as the interval between the line held by our troops and that held 
by the enemy widened much from left to right in front of Field's 
division. At this moment, however, Pickett's advancing lines 
opened fire, and in an instant the men of the brigades of Field's 
division, on General Gregg's right (first squads of men and offi- 
cers, then the standards, and then whole regiments), leaped over 
our entrenchments and started in the charge without orders, and 
General Gregg and his Texans rushed forward with them, and in 
a few moments the line was ours. It was a gallant sight to see; 
and a striking evidence of the high spirit and splendid elan of 
troops who had now been fighting more than forty days, in one 
continuous strain of bloody battles. It was a hazardous move- 
ment, as the position attacked was a very strong one; but it was 
found to be held by a mere handful of the enemy, and our loss 
was very slight. I have been thus particular in the details of 
this incident, of which I was an eye-witness, as General Lee, who 
was at the Clay house, was not acquainted with all the facts when 
he sent the well-known message to General Anderson, mention- 
ing only Pickett's men. 

On the next day, June 18th, General Lee marched to Peters- 
burg with the van of his army, Kershaw s division, with which 
he at once reinforced Beauregard's troops in the line of defence. 
Both Generals were on the field that day, when the assault along 


the whole line was made by the Federal corps, which met with 
such a complete and bloody repulse. During the action a young 
artillery officer fell by General Lee's side, shot through the body. 
The attack made no impression whatever on our lines. The easy 
repulse of the Federal corps on this occasion, and the result of 
the attack made by Hill with a part of Wilcox's and Mahone's 
divisions on the Second and Sixth corps, near the Jerusalem 
plank-road, on the 21st, when sixteen hundred prisoners and four 
pieces of artillery were captured by Mahone, made it plain that 
the opportunity had arrived for a decisive blow So on the night 
of the 22d, General Lee sent for General Alexander, the accom- 
plished Chief of Artillery of Longstreet's corps, and made arrange- 
ments for the disposition of the artillery for an attack on the 
morning of the 24th. The attack was to begin at daylight, with 
a heavy fire of artillery from Archer's hill, on the north bank of 
the Appomattox, enfilading the enemy's line near the river; 
then the infantry of Hoke's division, sustained by Field's division, 
was to begin with the capture of the line next the river, and then 
sweep along the line uncovering our front, thus rolling up the 
Federal right, and compelling General Grant to battle in the 
open field at a disadvantage. At daybreak on the 24th the ar- 
tillery opened fire and did its work well. The skirmishers of 
Hagood's brigade of Hoke's division went forward very hand- 
somely and captured the lines next the river. But through some 
mistake this success was not followed up — the gallant skirmish- 
ers were not sustained, and were soon made prisoners by the 
forces of the enemy turned against them. And thus the whole 
plan, so well conceived and so successful in its beginning, was 
given up much to the sorrow of the Commanding-General. 

In the preliminary operations about Petersburg up to July 1st, 
Grant's losses footed up fifteen thousand men. On the 6th of 
July, his engineers pronounced the Confederate works impreg- 
nable to assault. From this date the operations partook of the 
nature of a siege. 

As it is not my intention to give any record of events after the 
siege of Petersburg, I will close my address at this point in the 
campaign of '64 — a campaign, the full history of which would 
leave the world in doubt, whether most to admire the genius of 
our great leader or the discipline, devotion, courage and con- 
stancy of his soldiers. 

On the 4th of May four converging invading columns set out 
simultaneously for the conquest of Virginia. The old State, 
which had for three years known little else save the tramp of 
armed legions, was now to be closed in by a circle of fire, from 
the mountains to the seaboard. 


Through the Southwestern mountain passes, through the gates 
of the lower valley, from the battle-scarred vales of the Rappa- 
hannock, from the Atlantic seaboard, by the waters of the James, 
came the serried hosts on field and flood, numbering more than 
two hundred and seventy-five thousand men (including in this 
number also reinforcements sent during the campaign). No troops 
were ever more thoroughly equipped or supplied with a more 
abundant commissariat. For the heaviest column, transports 
were ready to bring supplies and reinforcements to any one of 
three convenient deep-water bases — Acquia creek, Port Royal 
and the White House. 

The column next in importance had its deep-water base within 
nine miles of a vital point in our defences. In the cavalry arm 
(so important in a campaign in a country like ours) they boasted 
overwhelming strength. 

The Confederate forces in Virginia, and those which could be 
drawn to its defence from other points, numbered not more than 
seventy-five thousand men. Yet our great Commander, with 
steadfast heart, committing our cause to the God of battles, calmly 
made his dispositions to meet the shock of the invading hosts. In 
sixty days the great invasion had dwindled to a siege of Peters- 
burg (nine miles from deep-water) by the main column, which, 
"shaken in its structure, its valor quenched in blood, and thous- 
ands of its ablest officers killed or wounded, was the army of 
the Potomac no more." 

Mingled with it in the lines of Petersburg lay the men of the 
second column, which, for the last forty days of the campaign, 
had been held in inglorious inaction at Bermuda Hundreds by 
Beauregard, except when a portion of it was sent to share the 
defeat of June 3d on the Chickahominy; while the third and 
fourth columns, foiled at Lynchburg, were wandering in disor- 
derly retreat through the mountains of West Virginia, entirely 
out of the area of military operations. Lee had made his works 
at Petersburg impregnable to assault, and had a movable column 
of his army within two days' march of the Federal capital. He 
had made a campaign unexampled in the history of defensive 

My comrades, I feel that I, have given but a feeble picture of 
this grand period in the history of the time of trial of our 
beloved South — a history which is a great gift of God, and which 
we must hand down as a holy heritage to our children, not to 
teach them to cherish a spirit of bitterness or a love for war, but 
to show them that their fathers bore themselves worthily in the 
strife when to do battle became a sacred duty. Heroic history 
is the living soul of a nation's renown. When the traveler in 


Switzerland reads on the monument near Basle the epitaph of 
the thirteen hundred brave mountaineers who met the over- 
whelming hosts of their proud invaders, and "fell, not conquered, 
but wearied with victory, giving their souls to God and their 
bodies to the enemy"; or when he visits the places sacred to the 
myth of William Tell, transplanted by pious, patriotic fraud 
from the legends of another people to inspire the youth of that 
mountain-land with the hatred of tyrants and the love of heroic 
deeds; or when he contemplates that wonderful monument by 
Thorwaldsen, on the shores of Lake Lucerne, in commemoration 
of the fidelity in death of the Swiss Guard of Louis XVI — a 
colossal lion, cut out of the living rock, pierced by a javelin, and 
yet in death protecting the lily of France with his paw, — he asks 
himself, how many men of the nations of the world have been 
inspired with a love of freedom by the monuments and heroic 
stories of little Switzerland? 

Comrades, we need not weave any fable borrowed from Scan- 
dinavian lore into the woof of our history to inspire our youth 
with admiration of glorious deeds in freedom's battles done. In 
the true history of this Army of Northern Virginia, which laid 
down its arms "not conquered, but wearied with victory," you 
have a record of deeds of valor, of unselfish consecration to 
duty, and faithfulness in death, which will teach our sons and 
our son's sons how to die for liberty. Let us see to it that it 
shall be transmitted to them. 

After the address of Colonel Venable the following officers 
were elected : 

President — General Fitzhugh Lee. 

Vice-Presidents — Colonel R. E. Withers and General B. T. 

Treasurer — Major Robert Stiles. 

Secretaries — Sergeants George L. Christian and Leroy S. 

Executive Committee — General W H. Payne, Sergeant J. V. 
L. McCreery, Major W K. Martin, Colonel T H. Carter, Colonel 
J. B. Cary. 


The interest in these annual reunions continued to grow, and a 
"larger crowd than ever assembled in the State Capitol on the 
evening of October 29th, 1874 — among them a large number of 
our most distinguished officers and most heroic private soldiers. 

After a fervent and most appropriate prayer by Rev J. L. M. 
Curry, D. D., General Fitz. Lee, in well chosen words and appropri- 
ate terms, greeted his comrades and welcomed them to their 
reunion. He stated that the Association was organized for both 
historical and social purposes, but said that the gathering of 
historical material had now been turned over to the Southern 
Historical Society, over which presides the indomitable and " al- 
ways-tell-the-truth " General Jubal A. Early. 

But the social feature of the organization remained, and it was 
meet that they should gather to revive memories of the brave 
old days, to grasp the hands of comrades, and to keep fresh the 
recollections of the gallant struggle we made against overwhelm- 
ing numbers and resources. After other appropriate remarks, 
General Lee gracefully introduced, as orator of the evening, Colo- 
nel Charles Marshall, of Baltimore, "the Military Secretary and 
confidential friend of General R. E. Lee." 

Colonel Marshall was enthusiastically greeted and was fre- 
quently interrupted with loud applause as he delivered the follow- 
ing address : 


Mr President and Fellozv Soldiers of the Army of Northern 
lirginia — When the Executive Committee honored me with the 
invitation that brings me before you to-night, I was at a loss to 
choose from the teeming annals of the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia a subject appropriate to the occasion, and one that my in- 
formation would enable me to present without trespassing too 
much upon your patience. 

The short history of that army is crowded with events and 
incidents which will furnish material to the historian, the orator, 
the poet and the painter as long as heroic courage, uncomplain- 
ing' endurance, mapnanimitv in the hour of victory, and fortitude 
under adverse fortune, continue to command the admiration and 
.attract the sympathy of mankind. 

But I do not feel at liberty to choose at will from those inci- 


dents, nor can I venture to utter the thoughts that start first to 
my mind as I look upon the faces of old comrades in arms, and 
upon some young faces that remind me of comrades who have 
passed away I dare not trust myself to speak to you of those 
memories of our army life, dearest to the heart of a soldier, but 
which make no part of the world's history of war. Time does 
not permit me to attempt a description of any of the great bat- 
tles in which you bore an honorable part, nor would such a 
description, however accurate, as well illustrate the magnitude of 
the service performed by the Army of Northern Virginia, or 
afford as clear a view of the difficulties against which it had to 
contend, and of the burden imposed upon its courage and endu- 
rance, as will be derived from the subject to which I propose to 
invite your attention, if I can succeed in presenting that subject 
properly. Indeed, it requires no little courage to undertake to 
fight any of the battles of the war "o'er again." 

It has been sixty years since Waterloo, and to this day writers 
are not agreed as to the facts of that famous battle. 

English historians claim that the steadfast lines of the Iron 
Duke turned the scale of victory, while the Germans, with equal 
confidence, assert that the glory is due to him for whose coming 
Wellington is said to have prayed, as he watched the dubious 
tide of battle. Victor Hugo, with all the light of history before 
him, has amused every man who ever saw a battle with his 
description of the field that decided the fortune of Napoleon and 
of Europe. 

It is not fourteen years since our war began, and yet who on 
either side of those who took part in it is bold enough to say 
that he knows the exact truth, and the whole truth, with refe- 
rence to any of the great battles in which the armies of the 
North and South met each other? 

Was not Mr. Sumner censured by the Legislature of Massa- 
chusetts because, prompted in part at least, let us hope, by the 
love of truth, he renewed in the Senate of the United States after 
the war a resolution which in substance he had previously 
brought forward? — 

*t3 X 

" Resolved, That it is inexpedient that the 

names of victories obtained over our own fellow citizens should 
be placed on the regimental colors of the United States." 

This resolution would erase from the colors of the United 
States army such names as those of Cold Harbor, Manassas Fred- 
ericksburg, and Chancellorsville, which you have seen inscribed 
upon captured flags. Now we believe that zve won those fights 


and we wonder why a resolution of Congress should be neces- 
sary to blot them from the list of Union victories recorded on 
the standards of its armies. 

We think that we know something about the second battle at 
Manassas, and yet is not General Fitz John Porter, who fought 
us so stubbornly at the first battle of Cold Harbor, now in dis- 
grace, because it was proved to the satisfaction of a Federal 
courtmartial that half the Confederate army was not where we 
all know it was on the morning of August 29th, 1862? And on 
our side, have we not read General Joseph E. Johnston's " Con- 
tribution of materials for the use of the future historian of the war 
between the States," and has any one risen from the perusal of 
that interesting book, without the conviction that its distinguished 
author is mistaken as to some of his statements, or that all 
cotemporaneous history is in error? 

I will venture to present only two of the perplexities in which 
"the future historian of the war between the States" will find 
himself involved when he comes to compare the "material ".con- 
tributed by General Johnston with the other "material" con- 
tributed by official records and documents, which General John- 
ston seems not to have seen, or not to have consulted. 

General Johnston says, page 145 of his "Narrative": "The 
authors of Alfriend's life of Jefferson Davis and some other 
biographies represent, to my disparagement, that the army with 
which General Lee fought in the 'Seven Days' was only that 
which I had commanded. It is very far from the truth. General 
Lee did not attack the enemy until the 26th of June, because he 
was employed from the 1st until then in forming a great 
army, by bringing to that which I had commanded fifteen thous- 
and men from North Carolina, under Major-General Holmes; 
twenty-two thousand men from South Carolina and Georgia, and 
above sixteen thousand men from the ' / "alley,' in the divisions of 
Jackson and Ezucll, which the victories of Cross Keys and Port 
Republic had rendered disposable." 

General Johnston states in a note the sources of his informa- 

He says " General Holmes told me, in General Lee's presence, 
just before the fight began on the 31st (of May), that he had that 
force (fifteen thousand men) ready to join me when the Prescient 
should give the order." He then refers to other evidence, which 
he says is in his possession, going to show that the reinforcements 
brought by General Holmes to General Lee, and which took part 
in the "Seven Days" Battles, amounted to fifteen thousand men. 
As to the twenty-two thousand from South Carolina and Georgia, 
General Johnston says : "General Ripley gave in this number. Pie 


brought the first brigade, five thousand men. General Lawton told 
me that his was six thousand ; General Drayton that his was seven 
thousand. There was another brigade, of which I do not know 
the strength." 

Now the "future historian" ought not lightly to doubt the ac- 
curacy of any statement of General Johnston, and upon that 
high authority he would record that before the battles of the 
"Seven Days," General Lee received from three of the sources 
mentioned by General Johnston reinforcements to the number 
of thirty-seven thousand men, who took part in those engagements 
which resulted in dislodging General McClellan from his position 
on the Chickahominy 

And yet how hard the "future historian" will be put to it to 
reconcile "Johnston's Narrative" with the official reports made at 
the time. In the first volume of the official reports of the opera- 
tions of the Army of Northern Virginia, published by authority 
of the Confederate Congress, at page 151, will be found General 
Holmes' statement of the number of men brought by him to 
take part in the battles around Richmond during the " Seven 

General Holmes there says, that upon crossing the James, 
river he was joined on the 30th June by General Wise with two 
regiments of seven hundred and fifty-two bayonets and two bat- 
teries of artillery, and adds : " The effective force under my orders 
thus amounted to six thousand infantry and six batteries of artil- 
lery" being less by nine thousand infantry than General John- 
ston's "Narrative" assigns to General Holmes. General John- 
ston says that Ripley's brigade was five thousand strong, and 
that General Ripley so informed him. 

There may have been that number of men borne upon the 
rolls of the brigade, but we have General Ripley's official report 
of the number of troops under his command that actually took 
part in the battles around Richmond. 

At page 234, volume 1 of the official reports already referred 
to, General Ripley says : " The aggregate force which entered 
into the series of engagements on the 26th of June was twenty- 
three hundred and sixty-six, including pioneers and the ambulance 

The "Narrative" puts the force under General Lawton at six 
thousand men, but before the "historian of the war" ventures to 
make use of this contribution to his materials, he will do well 
to look at the official reports, at page 270 of the first volume, 
where he will find that General Lawton gives the force which he 
carried into the battle of Cold Harbor, on the 27th June, 1862, 
as thirty-five hundred men. 


I have not been able to find General Drayton s report of the 
part taken by his command in the battles around Richmond — if 
he did take part in them — and therefore cannot compare the 
number assigned to General Drayton in those engagements by 
General Johnston's "Narrative" with any official documents, but 
if the reports of Holmes, Lawton and Ripley be correct, they 
brought less than eleven thousand eight hundred and sixty-six 
men to participate in those battles, instead of twenty-six thou- 
sand as stated by General Johnston. 

Ripley and Lawton, according to their reports, had five thou- 
sand eight hundred and sixty-six men in the "Seven Days'" 
battles, instead of eleven thousand, according to Johnston's Nar- 

It follows, therefore, that Drayton's brigade, and the other, 
whose strength General Johnston says he does not know, must 
have made up the rest of the twenty-two thousand men who we 
are informed came to General Lee from South Carolina and 
Georgia to aid in driving McClellan from the Cbickahominy — 
that is, those two brigades, Drayton's and the unknown, must 
have numbered about sixteen thousand men. 

General Johnston says that General Drayton told him that his 
brigade was seven thousand strong, so that the unknown brigade 
must have numbered nine thousand to make up the twenty -two 
thousand from South Carolina and Georgia. 

It may have been so. There may have been a brigade in Gen- 
eral Lee's army nine thousand strong, but in speaking about it 
before you, I think it safer to refer to it as the " unknown brigade." 
And in this connection let me suggest to the future historian of 
the war that before he writes Drayton's brigade down as con- 
tributing seven thousand men to the army around Richmond in 
the "Seven Days'" Battles, it will be well for him to inquire 
whether that brigade joined the army at all until after McClellan 
had been driven from the Chickahominy and the army had 
marched northward upon a new campaign. 

He will find no trace of this brigade in the reports of the 
Seven Days' Battles, although the)' are so much in detail as to 
include the reports of captains of companies. 

A Confederate brigade seven thousand strong would probably 
have taken some part worth reporting, and its name ought to 
appear in the official account. 

Drayton s command will be found mentioned in the official 
reports of subsequent operations of the army at Manassas and 
in Maryland. 

As to the "unknown brigade," that, I think, will turn out to 


be a small command under General Evans, of South Carolina, 
who did not join the army until after it moved from Richmond.* 

Another instance of the difficulties which surround those who 
venture to enter upon a detailed history of the war, will be found 
in the same Narrative. 

On page 140 General Johnston says: "About noon (of the 1st 
June) General Lee was assigned to the command of the Army 
of Northern Virginia by the President, and at night the troops 
were ordered by him to return to their camps near Richmond,, 
which they did soon after daybreak Monday" (June 2d). 

On the next page General Johnston proceeds to describe the 
relative forces and positions of the armies that had been engaged 
on Saturday, and says, with reference to the condition of affairs 
on Sunday, June 1st: "After nightfall, Saturday, the two bodies 

* It is proper to remark that the army around Richmond received a larger reinforcement 
from North Carolina than the number given in General Holm"s' official report. 

General Holmes had under his command in North Carolina four brigades, which afterwards 
cam- to Virginia, and which are no doubt the troops referred to by General Johnston as com- 
prising the fifteen thousand men that joined General Lee after the battle of Seven Pines. 

These brigades were commanded by General Branch, General Ransom and General J. G. 
Walker; and a fourth, known as the Third North Carolina brigade, was commanded during 
its service at Richmond by Colonel Junius Daniel. 

Of these, Branch's brigade joined the army at Richmond before the battle of Seven Pines. 
It was engaged with the enemy near Hanover Junction on the twenty-sixth May, and after- 
wards formed a part of A. P. Hill's division. General Ransom's brigade consisted of six regi- 
ments, one of which, the Forty-eighth North Carolina, was transferred to Walker's brigade. 
Ransom's five regiments numbered about three thousand, though his effective force was 
somewhat less. It was attached to Huger's division on the twenty-fifth June, and is counted 
in that division. 

Walker's brigade, as reported by Colonel Manning, who succeeded General Walker after 
the latter was disabled on the first July, was about four thousand strong; and the Third 
brigade, under Colonel Daniel, was about one thousand seven hundred, according to the lat- 
ter officer. (See Reports of Army of Northern Virginia, volume 1, pages 322 and 325.) These 
last two commands composed the force mentioned by t-Jeneral Holmes in his reporc. 

General Johnston's statement that fifteen thousand men came from North Carolina, under 
General Holmes, is theiefore calculated to give an erroneous idea of the actual increase of 
the army under General Lee between the battle of Seven Pines and the battles around Rich- 
mond. Branch's brigade should not be' included in the troops that came from North Caro- 
lina, under Holmes, because that brigade was with the army before General Johnston 
was wounded; and for the further reason, that as it afterwards formed part of A. P. Hill's 
division, it would be counted twice if it also be treated as part of the troops brought by 
General Holmes. A similar error would be likely to occur with reference to Ransom's 
brigade, which is counted as part of Huger's division, and should be excluded from the 
troops under Holmes. 

In fact, I have seen an estimate of General Lee's forces in the Seven Days' Battles, based 
upon the statement of General Johnston, above referred to, in which General Holmes' com- 
mand is put down as fifteen thousand strong; while Ransom's and Branch's brigades are at 
the same time counted as part of the divisions of Huger and A. P. Hill, thus doubling the 
strength of those brigades. 

It should also be observed in connection with the statement of General Johnston, as to 
the number of troops that came from South Carolina and Georgia, that there is danger of a 
like error. Among those troops was Lawton's brigade. Now Lawton did not come directly 
to Richmond from the South. 

When he reached Burkeville, on his way to Richmond, General Lee was about to cover the 
contemplated movement against General McClellan, by creating the impression that Jackson 
was to be reinforced, so as to resume the offensive in the Valley. For this purpose, Lawton 
was sent from Burkeville, by way of Lynchburg, to join Jackson near Staunton, and Whiting's 
division, of two brigades, was detached from the army before Richmond. Botli Lawton 
and Whiting joined Jackson, and formed part of the command with which he came to Rich- 
mond and engaged in the Seven Days' Battles. (See Jackson's report, volume l, page 129, 
Heports of Army of Northern Virginia, where it will be seen that Lawton was attached to 
Jackson's division.) This fact should be borne in mind in estimating the strength of General 
Lee's army, because General Johnston's Narrative counts the force under Jackson as com- 
posing part of the reinforcements received by General Lee. (See Narrative, page 146.) 
Lawton must be counted as part of the twenty-two thousand, or as part of Jackson's com- 
mand. Whiting should not be counted among the reinforcements, because he belonged to 
the army under General Johnston. 


of Federal troops were completely separated from the two corps 
of their right, beyond the Chickahominy, by the swollen stream 
which had swept away their bridges, and Sumner's corps, at 
Fair Oaks, was six miles from those of Heintzelman and Keyes, 
which was at Bottom's bridge; but the Confederate forces were 
united on the front and left flank of Sumner's corps. Such 
advantage of position and superiority of numbers would have 
enabled them to defeat that corps on Sunday morning before 
any aid could have come from Heintzelman, after which his 
troops, in the condition to which the action of the day before had 
rendered them, could not have made effectual resistance." 

And again, on page 143, General Johnston says: "No action 
of the war has been so little understood as that of Seven Pines. 
The Southern people have felt no interest in it, because, being 
unfinished in consequence of the disabling of the commander, 
they saw no advantage derived from it; and the Federal com- 
manders claimed the victory, because the Confederate forces did 
not renew the battle on Sunday, and fell back to their camps on 
M onday " 

The meaning of these extracts is that the Confederate army 
lost a great opportunity to destroy part of that of General Mc- 
Clellan the day after General Johnston was wounded, and that 
General Lee is responsible for the loss of that opportunity, 
because he took command about noon on Sunday and at night 
ordered the troops back to their camps near Richmond, instead 
of pressing the advantage they had gained on Saturday and 
availing himself of the separation of the Federal forces caused 
by the flood in the Chickahominy. 

Xow, I believe that General Johnston is the last person in the 
world to endeavor to magnify his own great merits by depre- 
ciating the conduct of others, and especially by depreciating the 
conduct of one whose name, canonized by death, is treasured by 
the Southern people in their inmost hearts. 

And yet General Johnston has fallen into an error in those 
parts of his narrative that I have quoted, which is calculated to 
give the sanction of his great name to a reflection upon the 
capacity and conduct of the illustrious chief under whom the 
Army of Northern Virginia won its undying renown. 

General Lee was on the battlefield on Sunday, June 1st, as he 
was also the day before; but General Lee did not take actual 
command of the arm}- until June 2d, and when he did the troops 
were already in the camps around Richmond, whence General 
Johnston had led them to fight the battle of Seven Pines. 

When, unfortunately for the country, General Johnston was 
wounded. General G. \\ Smith succeeded to the command, but 
was unable to retain it bv reason of his feeble health. 


The opportunity spoken of by General Johnston was not re- 
ported until after the army had returned to its encampment, and 
could not therefore have been made use of as General Johnston 
seems to think it should have been.* 

When you see that those who h#ve every desire to tell the 
truth, and whose opportunities of knowing the facts of which 
they write are so far superior to my own, have fallen into errors 
which I am sure they will be the first to correct, you will readily 
understand why I do not venture to select from all the events 
which marked the history of the Army of Northern Virginia 
any one of its great battles as the subject of my address to- 
night. I have been engaged for two or three years, as some of 
you may know, in trying to write an account of the life and 
achievements of the great leader of the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia, and conscious of my inability to "rise to the height of 
that great argument," I have spared no labor to make what I 
may write accurate, however in other respects it may fall below 
the dignity of the subject. 

The Secretary of War saw proper to deny my request (pre- 
ferred by a distinguished Senator of the United States, who hon- 
ored me with his confidence and friendship) to be permitted to 
examine the captured records of the Confederate Government, 
of the contents of which some Federal officers, more fortunate 
than myself, have from time to time given what the lawyers call 
"parol testimony." 

I have thus been thrown back upon other sources of informa- 
tion, and while I am most grateful for the assistance I have re- 
ceived from officers, both Federal and Confederate, to whom I 
have applied, candor compels me to acknowledge that the seeker 
after truth has a hard time of it when he undertakes to describe 
with anything like minuteness any of the great battles of the 

Ever since the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse I have 
regarded myself as a man of peace; but I am obliged to admit 
that on one or two occasions, in my pursuit of information, I 
have been tempted to forget my peaceful character, when some 
zealous Federal officer has insisted upon convincing me that the 
Confederate army was beaten in the Wilderness, or some unre- 
constructed Rebel has refused to admit that we were repulsed at 

Knowing, therefore, the difficulties that beset the way of the 
honest inquirer, I cast the mantle of charity over the errors of 

* Northern officers do not agree with General Johnston as to the situation of the Federal 
army on the 1st June, and the existence of the opportunity referred to in the " Narrative " 
is far from being one of those " materials " upon which the future historian can rely as 
established beyond dispute. 


those who venture to provide "materials for the use of the future 
historian of the war between the States," but I shrink from fol- 
lowing their example, lest I also fall into the same condemnation. 

There are, however, some undisputed facts with reference to 
the war, from the study of which a better understanding of mili- 
tary operations can be derived than from a detailed history of 
marches and battles, and I propose to invite your attention to 
one of those interesting and instructive subjects. 

I refer to the influence upon the conduct and issue of the war 
in Virginia which was exerted by the selection of the city of 
Richmond as the seat of the Confederate Government, and the 
establishment here of those depots and arsenals necessary to 
supply an army operating north of the James river. 

It is not possible, in fact, to explain the operations of the con- 
tending armies 'in Virginia without a clear understanding of the 
importance which the possession of Richmond acquired during 
the progress of the war. 

For four years the greatest efforts of the Federal Government 
were directed to the capture of the city, while the strongest army 
of the Confederacy was arduously engaged and finally exhausted 
in its defence. 

The political consequence assigned by common consent to the 
capital of a country, and especially to the capital of a country 
struggling for recognition, would doubtless have rendered any 
place which the Confederate Government might have selected 
for that purpose a prominent object of attack; but Richmond 
had a value in a military point of view that far exceeded its 
political importance. 

The great region of country between the James river and the 
Potomac has become historic. It was the Flanders of the war, 
and it is no exaggeration to say that nearly or quite a quarter of 
million of men perfshed in the fierce struggle for its possession 
in which the armies of the North and South were engaged for 
nearly four years. 

This territory was of great value to the Confederacy, on account 
of the supplies it furnished to the army and the recruits whom 
its brave and patriotic population sent to our ranks. 

But it was not the supplies and the recruits which gave it its 
chief value. 

The effectiveness of any army of the Confederacy depended in 
a great degree upon its proximity to the enemy's country, and it 
soon became apparent that the same number of Confederate troops 
could not be placed where they would give occupation to so much 
of the vastly superior force of the enemy, as in that region between 
the James and the Potomac, within reach of the sensitive Southern 


frontier of the United States, on whose extreme border stood the 
city of Washington, for the safety of which the Federal authori- 
ties considered no preparation excessive, no sacrifice too great. 

A few considerations will suggest, rather than fully explain, 
the importance to the Confederacy of being able to maintain in 
Northern Virginia an army sufficiently strong to keep alive the 
anxiety of the Washington Government for the safety of the 
capital and the defence of the avenues of approach to the large 
cities of Maryland and Pennsylvania. 

The resources of the Federal Government greatly exceeded 
those of the Confederacy 

After the first battle of Manassas, Mr. Lincoln perceived that 
while the moral effect of treating the war as one waged for the 
suppression of a rebellion was of service in uniting the different 
political parties in the North, and in giving the prestige of 
legitimacy to his Government, yet, that in truth, the North, under 
the name of the "United States," had entered upon a war of 
conquest, and he forthwith began to prepare for it on a scale 
adequate to the emergency. 

More than half a million of men were called to arms, and a 
navy was speedily launched, strong enough to perform the great 
task committed to it of blockading the Southern coast from the 
Capes of Virginia to the mouth of the Rio Grade, and ultimately 
to turn the doubtful scale in favor of the baffled armies of the 

The results of this vigorous policy were soon manifested. 

Vast armies gathered along our frontier, nimble gunboats and 
powerful iron-clads swarmed in our rivers and along our coasts, 
and every part of the South felt itself exposed to invasion. 

It was manifestly impossible for the Confederate Government 
to attempt, with any hope of success, to oppose this vast force at 
every point that might be assailed. 

The undisputed control of the water, and the extensive coasts 
and great navigable rivers of the South, enabled the Federal 
Government to threaten so many points at once, that to oppose 
the enemy everywhere would require a ruinous dispersion of the 
Confederate forces. The fatal consequences of such an attempt 
had been demonstrated as soon as military operations were re- 
sumed in the beginning of 1862. 

Kentucky and a great part of Tennessee were quickly over- 
run ; Missouri was practically lost; the unfortunate city of New 
Orleans fell into the hands of the enemy; General Johnston found 
himself obliged to retire from Northern Virginia, and strong ex- 
peditions of the enemy succeeded in establishing themselves 
along our Atlantic coast. The Confederates had some troops 
everywhere, but not enough anywhere. 


But although they had to abandon the plan of opposing the 
enemy successfully at every point of attack, it was still possible, 
by concentrating their forces upon some vulnerable part of the 
Federal frontier, to compel the enemy to pursue the same policy 
of concentration, and thus impair his means of assailing exposed 
localities which the Confederacy did not posess the power to 

The position of the city of Washington, and the paramount 
importance attached by Mr. Lincoln and his advisers to its safety, 
afforded such an opportunity to the Confederate commander. 
The safety of the Federal capital was regarded by the authorities 
at Washington as essential to a successful prosecution of the war, 
and the precautions taken for its defence were always in propor- 
tion to their estimate of its importance, rather than the actual danger 
of losing it. The presence of General Johnston's army at Ma- 
nassas detained that of General McClellan, nearly three times as 
strong, at Washington during the autumn and winter of 1861- 
'62. The advance of the small force of Jackson down the Val- 
ley, when he drove General Banks across the Potomac, at a time 
when the Federal armies were nearly everywhere successful, ex- 
cited such apprehensions for the city of Washington that the 
strong army of McDowell was recalled from Fredericksburg to 
oppose him, and General McClellan was deprived of its co-opera- 
tion in his intended attack on Richmond. 

These results were so entirely out of proportion to the actual 
danger to which at any time Washington was exposed, as 
naturally to suggest the idea that by availing ourselves of the 
extreme sensitiveness of the Federal authorities on the subject, 
we could compel the concentration of their forces, and cause 
them to abandon some parts of our country which we were not 
strong enough to protect. 

This will be found to be a marked feature of the operations of 
the Army of Northern Virginia, under the command of General 

It will be remembered that he resorted to this plan to compel 
the arm)' of General McClellan to withdraw from the James 
after it had been dislodged from its position on the Chickahominy. 
He did not hesitate, notwithstanding the declaration by General 
McClellan of his intention to renew his operations against Rich- 
mond from his new base, to detach the whole of Jackson's com- 
mand, which was speedily followed by the strong division of A. 
P Hill. 

These troops, under the energetic lead of Jackson, crossed the 
Rapidan, and attacked the army of General l'ope with a bold- 
ness which caused him to concievc a very exaggerated idea of 
their numbers. 


Pope's advance was checked, and the troops of General Burn- 
side, which had been recalled to assist McClellan, were brought 
to Fredericksburg, to co-operate with Pope in resisting the ad- 
vance of the Confederate army This movement of Burnside 
made it evident that nothing would be undertaken by McClellan, 
and General Lee immediately began to move the last of his army 
northward, confident that he would thereby accelerate the recall 
of McClellan from the James. 

At the same time the troops of D. H. Hill, which had been 
stationed south of James river, were drawn to Richmond, with 
such reinforcements as the withdrawal of General Burnside from 
North Carolina had made disposable, with orders to follow the 
main body of the army northward as soon as General McClellan 
should be recalled. 

Thus was completed that great step towards the concentration 
of the Confederate forces which resulted in the formation of the 
powerful Army of Northern Virginia. 

It is worthy of notice that the army did not receive its name 
until after it had returned from Northern Virginia and was 
engaged in defending Richmond. The name seems to have been 
inspired by the conviction that Northern Virginia was destined 
to be the scene of its operations. 

This concentration on our part, and the danger with which 
Washington was supposed to be menaced, brought about the re- 
sults anticipated by General Lee. 

McClellan's army was brought to reinforce Pope; troops were 
taken from the coast of Carolina and from Western Virginia to 
aid in defending the Federal capital, and it became evident that 
a Confederate army could not render more efficient service and 
afford more complete protection to the country than by arousing 
the apprehensions of the authorities at Washington for the safety 
of that city. 

The advantage which the Confederacy derived from its ability 
to maintain a strong army near the Northern and Northeastern 
border of Virginia will also appear if we reflect what would have 
been the condition of affairs had the Confederate army retired 
from that region and fallen back towards the North Carolina line, 
as it must have done in order to keep up its connections with 
the South. 

It is evident that in that case the whole Southern border of 
the United States, including the city of Washington, would have 
been relieved of serious apprehension, and the troops occupied 
in providing against an expected invasion on our part would have 
been disposable for aggressive movements against us. 

The effect of the loss of Kentucky and the greater part of 


Tennessee opon military operations in the West will further illus- 
trate my meaning. 

After our troops in the West had fallen back so far from the 
Northern border as to interpose between them and the States 
beyond the Ohio river an extensive district of country, practically 
in the possession of the enemy, the Federal Government had a 
much greater force at its command for use in the field than would 
have been the case had it been required to guard its long South- 
ern border. 

Time will not permit me to point out all the advantages result- 
ing from the tenure of Northern Virginia by the Confederacy, 
but I have said enough to indicate to my thoughtful hearers that 
the great struggle of nearly four years, which was waged for the 
possession of this region, involved consequences to the Confede- 
racy of far greater importance than the mere loss of territory, or 
of the recruits and supplies it derived from Northern Virginia. 

But while the presence of our army in Northern Virginia was 
of advantage in many ways, some of which I have suggested, it 
is apparent that to enable that army to accomplish its object, it 
needed all the strength the Confederacy could give it. 

It was near the Northern border, in the presence continually of 
the most powerful of all the Union armies, and constantly exposed 
to the attack of superior numbers. 

With all the important consequences which depended upon 
the ability of that army to maintain itself, and in view of the 
gigantic task imposed upon it of meeting the repeated efforts of 
the enemy to force it further back from the Union frontier, and 
from the Federal capital, it would seem that the arm}- had as 
much as it could do, and that the skill of its leader and the 
courage of his men would be fully occupied in performing the 
arduous task immediately before them. 

You will now understand the subject to which I propose to in- 
vite your attention — that is, the influence which the situation and 
military importance of the city of Richmond exerted upon the 
conduct and issue of the war. 

Valuable as Northern Virginia was to the Confederacy, its pos- 
session came to depend entirely upon our ability to defend the 
city of Richmond. Here were established the depots and arsenals 
of the army operating in Northern Virginia, or through Rich- 
mond it had the chief means of access to sources of supply 
further South. 

With Richmond in the hands of the enemy, it is evident that 
no large Confederate army could have been maintained in North- 
ern Virginia. 

There was no other city in Virginia that had railroad conncc- 


tions with the South sufficient to furnish transportation for the 
supply of such an army as it was important to maintain in North- 
ern Virginia. 

Lynchburg might have been connected with the railroads in 
North Carolina, and thus have had an interior line of communi- 
cation with the South less accessible to the enemy than any that 
Richmond posessed, but no such communication was made, nor 
does it profit now to inquire whether it could have been made. 

If I have succeeded in impressing you with a sense of the im- 
portance of Northern Virginia to the prosperous maintenance of 
the war on the part of the Confederacy, you cannot fail to per- 
ceive that in addition to the great task which devolved upon that 
army in the immediate field of its operations, it had also to 
assume all the difficulties which the situation of Richmond im- 
posed upon those who undertook to defend it. 

Early in the second year of the war, the Confederacy was com- 
pelled to yield to the enemy quiet possession of the James river 
to within a few miles of Richmond. From that time it was 
always possible for the Federal Government to transport troops 
from the North and land them within less than a day's march of 
the city, without the fear or even the possibility of interruption 
by us. 

It is unnecessary to refer to the additional facilities of approach 
to Richmond which the York river afforded to the enemy The 
place upon the safety of which so much depended was in fact 
almost as accessible from the North by water as the city of Alex- 
andria. Its distance from the base of a Federal army operating 
against it gave it no advantage if that army could almost reach 
its gates by a safe and rapid water transportation. 

In attacking the city, situated as it was, the powerful flotilla of 
the enemy was able to co-operate efficiently with his land forces, 
so that the defenders of Richmond had to resist the combined 
efforts of the Federal army and navy Nor did Richmond for 
purposes of defence possess any of the advantages of an inland 
town, even should the enemy, renouncing the facilities which his 
command of the water afforded him, attempt to approach the city 
by land. 

The movement of General Grant in 1864 from Culpeper Court- 
house to the James river illustrates clearly the disadvantages 
which the army defending Richmond was forced to incur, owing 
to the peculiar situation of the city. 

General Grant marched from Culpeper Courthouse, abandon- 
ing his communications with Washington by the Orange and 
Alexandria road. But he had no need to care for his old com- 
munications, as his first halt in the Wilderness, and his next at 


Spotsylvania Courthouse, afforded him an easy and safe access 
to the Potomac river at Acquia Creek, within a few hours rail of 
Washington, by a road directly in the rear of and covered by his 
army. As General Grant advanced further south from Spotsyl- 
vania Courthouse to the Annas, the Rappahannock below Fred- 
ericksburg gave him new water communications with his base, 
using Port Royal in the rear o&his army as a landing. When 
his third stage brought him to the Pamunkey, another and per- 
fectly safe communication was opened with Washington by the 
York river and Chesapeake bay, and when his last march brought 
him to the James, his communication with Washington and all 
Northern ports became safe and perfect, without requiring the 
detachment of a single man from his army to guard it. 

It will thus be seen that although General Grant's march was 
through Virginia, it was attended with few of the difficulties that 
beset such a movement in a hostile country. 

The Federal army was not troubled with the protection of its 
lines of communication, for it abandoned one only to find another 
and a safer at the end of every march. 

Deprived thus of the opportunities that such a movement 
usually affords those who resist an army seeking to penetrate the 
interior of a country, the army of General Lee could only oppose 
direct resistance to the progress of the enemy, and hence the 
bloody contests between the few and the many that strewed the 
road from the Rapidan to the James with thousands of dead and 

But while Richmond could thus be easily approached by water, 
and while it had none of the advantages of an interior position, 
even as against an advance of the enemy by land, the difficulty 
of defending it, in case a Federal army too strong to be disloged 
should succeed in establishing itself near the city, was insuper- 
able. Such a state of affairs would reverse all the conditions of 
a successful resistance to a strong by a weaker force. 

It would impose upon the smaller army the protection of long 
lines of railroad, without which neither the troops nor the 
population could be supplied, while its stronger adversary would 
be perfectly safe in its communications, and free to use every man 
for the purpose of attack. 

But it is unnecessary for me to point out to those who took 
part in the defence of Richmond the manifold and fatal disadvan- 
tages they struggled so bravely to overcome. 

I have said enough to show the difficulties that beset that de- 
fence, and yet all these difficulties were added to the eluties, cares 
and labors of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

I have only time to refer to one or two illustrations of the dis- 


advantages which the defence of Richmond, added to its other 
great labors, imposed upon the army — disadvantages proceeding 
altogether from the exposed situation of the city, and the absolute 
naval supremacy of the enemy. 

It is plain that the necessity of looking to the defence of the 
city against the great peril to which it was constantly exposed 
could not fail to influence and corftrol the operations of the army. 

You will remember how, in the winter of 1862-63, the fear of 
an advance of the enemy on the south side of the James caused 
the detachment from the army at Fredericksburg of the greater 
part of Longstreet's corps, and the apprehension of danger to 
Richmond from that direction was so great, that it was not con- 
sidered expedient to return these troops to the army, even for 
the purpose of taking part in the battle of Chancellorsville. 
Their absence exposed the army of General Lee to the greatest 
peril, and perhaps stripped the victory of Chancellorsville of 
the fruits it might have borne. 

Again, you will remember that the presence of a Federal fleet 
in the James, and the movement of a Federal army from Ber- 
muda Hundreds, detained from us one of the strongest divisions 
of Longstreet's corps, while we were grappling with our gigantic 
enemy in the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania Courthouse. 

The same necessity prevented us from calling to our assistance 
the other troops under General Beauregard on the south side of 
the James, with whose aid we might have once more rolled the 
tide of war back to our Northern border, and made the result of 
the enemy's campaign of 1864 like that of 1862 and of 1863. 

But the most marked influence which the situation of Rich- 
mond, and the necessity of providing for its defence, exerted upon 
the conduct of the war in Virginia, is seen in its connection with 
the expeditions of the army beyond the Potomac. 

This I shall endeavor briefly to explain. The great advantages 
which the enemy would have in besieging Richmond, were so 
apparent that it was a saying of the Commander of the Army of 
Northern Virginia, that Richmond was never so safe as when its 
defenders were absent. 

His meaning was that the safety of Richmond depended upon 
our ability to employ the enemy at a distance, and prevent his 
near approach to the city. Such was the policy adopted by him, 
and which secured the comparative safety of Richmond from the 
time the army moved Northward in 1862, to the time when, worn 
out with more than two years of exhausting war, it was forced to 
retire within the entrenchments of Richmond before the great 
and ever increasing multitudes of its adversary. 

But it was only by acting upon the apprehensions of the enemy 


that such a result could be attained with the force under General 
Lee's command. 

Accordingly, when, by the second battle of Manassas, he had 
driven the united forces of Pope and McClellan, with all the rein- 
forcements that had been added to them, back upon the defences 
of Washington, it became necessary for General Lee to decide 
how he could prevent them from sending an expedition by water 
against Richmond, and thus necessitate the withdrawal of the 
army from Northern Virginia to defend the city To have done 
this would have been practically to give up the advantages we had 
gained in the campaign from Richmond to Manassas. 

It was out of the question to attempt to besiege the Federal army 
in the defences of Washington south of the Potomac, even had 
General Lee been provided with the means to do so, nor, could 
those works have been taken, would any advantage have resulted 
at all commensurate with the sacrifice of life that would have 
attended the effort, as the army would still have been separated 
from Washington by a river crossed by a high bridge more than 
a mile long, and commanded by the enemy's gunboats. 

Xor was it possible for the army to remain near its late battle- 
fields, as the country around was entirely stripped of supplies, 
and there was no railroad to Richmond except from the Rapidan. 

To have fallen back southward far enough to open railroad 
communications with Richmond, besides sacrificing to a great 
extent the moral effect of the Confederate successes, might have 
invited a renewel of the attempt on the city by way of the James 

Under these circumstances, there was but one course left for 
him to pursue, if he would save Richmond from the peril which 
he knew would attend its investment by the large army of the 
enemy He must give occupation to that arm}-, and such occu- 
pation as would compel the largest concentration of its forces. 
By this means he might even induce the enemy to withdraw 
troops from other parts of the Confederacy, and thus obtain 
additional reinforcements for himself. 

These results, however, required that he should continue to 
threaten Washington and the Northern States, and this he could 
not do effectually unless he could put his arm}- near Washington, 
and at the same time where it could be supported. It was fur 
these reasons, as we learn from the report of General Lee s first 
invasion of Maryland, that he crossed the Potomac, and for like 
reasons, as it would be easy to show, he invaded Maryland and 
Pennsylvania in 1863. 

It is not my intention to trace the campaigns of the arm)' be- 
yond the Potomac, interesting and imperfectly understood as the 


events of those campaigns are, but I have accomplished my 
present purpose if I have succeeded in explaining that the situa- 
tion of Richmond was intimately connected with the designs of 
General Lee in undertaking those expeditions, and that the bat- 
tles of Sharpsburg and Gettysburg were, in fact, but a part of 
the plan by which General Lee sought to defend Richmond, and 
thereby maintain his army in Northern Virginia and in proximity 
to the enemy's border. 

It would, perhaps, be going too far to say that General Lee 
would not have crossed the Potomac but for the peculiar situation 
and vital importance of Richmond. 

It is not impossible that had the objective point of Federal 
operations in Virginia been some less exposed and less accessible 
place, the Confederate army might have gained advantages that 
would have enabled it to assume the offensive in fact as well as 
in appearance. But it is more probable that in such an event, 
the Confederate Government would have availed itself of the 
opportunity to reinforce its armies in the South and West rather 
than eng-ao-e in the invasion of the Xorth. That it had the incli- 
nation to pursue this policy, is demonstrated by the detachment 
of two divisions of Longstreet's corps to reinforce General Bragg, 
at a time when it was thought that General Lee would not require 
his whole force in Virginia. In fact, I may mention that while the 
army lay on the Rapidan in the winter of 1863 and 1864, it was 
at one time in contemplation to send General Lee himself to take 
command of the army in Georgia. The confidence of General 
Lee in the belief that Richmond could not be successfully de- 
fended except by keeping the enemy at a distance, was illustrated 
to the last. 

The close of three years of bloody war found his diminished 
forces struggling with fresh and ever increasing numbers, and 
yet so strong was General Lee's conviction of the necessity of 
preventing the enemy from forming the siege of Richmond, that 
he did not hesitate to reduce his strength still further, in order 
to aim one last blow at the Federal capital, in the hope that he 
might thus cause General Grant to send a part of his army to its 

Such was the object of General Early's expedition to Mary- 

It was not supposed that General Early's small force would 
cause the withdrawal of General Grant's army, but it was hoped 
that the latter would be induced to detach a part of his force, and 
in that event reinforcements could have been sent to General 
Early, until at last the scene of hostilities might once more have 
been transferred from Richmond to the Northern frontier, and 
one more expensive campaign of the enemy have been frustrated. 


But the vast superiority of the enemy in numbers enabled him 
to provide for the defence of Washington without seriously 
diminishing the army of General Grant, and the siege of Rich- 
mond remained unbroken. 

I have thus imperfectly endeavored to present to you, in a 
general way, the difficulties under which the Army of Northern 
Virginia had to struggle, and I think, if I have made myself under- 
stood, that you will be able to form a better idea of the extent 
and magnitude of its services than could be derived from a de- 
scription of its various battles, the most accurate comparison of 
its strength with that of the enemy, or the most careful enumera- 
tion of the losses it sustained or inflicted. 

With the burden of Richmond's weakness constantly resting 
upon one arm, with the other it dealt those ponderous blows 
under which the gigantic power of the Federal Government 
shook to its foundation. 

These are reflections which add new interest to the recollec- 
tion of our battles and our marches. They give unity and consist- 
ency to a narrative that is commonly regarded as made up of 
detached and independent events. 

But time will not permit me to pursue the subject further now, 
nor do I believe that when we meet, as on this occasion, to revive 
the recollections and associations of our army life, you give your 
first thoughts to battles and campaigns. Such names as Cold 
Harbor, Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and imper- 
ishable Petersburg, recall proud memories I know. 

But your thoughts, my comrades, when you hear those names, 
recur first to the dear friends who lay by your side in the bivouac 
-of the night, and were struck dead by your side in the battle of 
the morrow 

You cease to think of the stirring events of the combat when 
you recall the scenes after the battle, when — 

" Our bugle sang' truce, and the night clouds had lowered, 
And the sentinel stars set their watcli in the sky, 
And thousands had sunk to the ground overpowered, 
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die. 1 ' 

You remember how you sat by some comrade whose life-blood 
was fast ebbing, and received from lips, soon to be sealed in 
death, the last fond words to mother, wife, child, friend. You 
recall a son kneeling over the prostrate body of his father, or a 
father, leaning on his musket, and gazing with mingled agony 
and pride upon a brave young face, white in death, his hope, his 
treasure, dead — yes, but dead on the field of duty and honor — 
-dead in honor's foremost ranks. 


These are the memories which the survivors of the army cher- 
ish nearest their hearts, and with which they go back to their 
battlefields, not as to the scenes of triumph or of disaster, but 
as to holy ground on which brave comrades fell — ground on 
which they tread with veiled eyes and unsandelled feet. 

It was not our fortune to reap the fruits of successful war. 

It was not ours, coming back to our homes, to hear from those 
for whom our arms had won liberty and safety, the grateful wel- 
come — 

" O ! day thrice lovely ! when at length the soldier 
Returns home info life; when he becomes 
A fellow-man among his fellow-men. 
The colors are unf url'd, the cavalcade 
Marshals, and now the buzz is hushed and, hark ! 
Now the soft peace march beats, home, brothers, home." 

But as I look back over the whole history of the Army of 
Northern Virginia, from its birth, through its life of arduous toil 
and danger, to the hour when its unstained sword dropped from 
its exhausted hand, I feel that it is worthy to have applied to it 
the noble words addressed by the English poet to the fallen 
oak — 

"Thou who unmoved, hast heard the whirlwind chide, 
Full many a winter round thy crajrgy bed, 
And like an earth-born giant has outspread 
* Thy hundred arms and Heaven's own bolts defied, 
Now liest along thy native mountain side 
TJptorn ! Yet deem not that I come to shed 
• The idle drops of pity o'er thy head, 
Or basely to insult thy blasted pride. 
No ! still 'tis thine, though fallen, Imperial Oak, 
To teach this lesson to the wise and brave, 
That 'tis far better, overthrown and broke, 
In Freedom's cause to sink into the grave, 
Than in submission to a Tyrant's yoke, 
Like the vile reed, to bow and be a slave." 

The Association then elected the following officers for the en- 
suing year: 

President — General George E. Pickett. 

Vice-Presidents — General W H. F Lee, General R. Ransom, 
General A. L. Long, General H. Heth, Captain D. B. McCorkle. 

Treasurer — Major Robert Stiles. 

Secretaries — Sergeant George L. Christian, Sergeant L. S. Ed- 

Executive Committee — General B. T. Johnson, Colonel Thomas 
H. Carter, Major T. A. Brander, Major Walter K. Martin, Private 
Carlton McCarthy. 



The Association then adjourned to the Exchange Hotel where 
an excellent supper was served. After full justice had been done 
to the viands a number of regular toasts were read, and eloquent 
responses were made by Governor Kemper, General W B. Tal- 
liaferro, General W H. Payne, General J. A. Early, General Fitz. 
Lee, General W H. F Lee, General R. Lindsay Walker, General 
J. A. Walker, Dr. Cullen, Dr. Carrington, Judge Farrar, General 
Bradley T Johnson, General Robert Ramson, General F H. 
Smith, Colonel C. S. Venable, Colonel Charles Marshall and Ser- 
geant George L. Christian. 


On Thursday evening, October 29th, 1875, the Hall of the 
House of Delegates was, packed to its utmost capacity The 
First Vice-President, General W H. F Lee, called the meeting 
to order. Rev. Dr. J. William Jones opened the exercises with 

General Lee made a graceful and touching allusion to the recent 
death of General George E. Pickett, President of the Associa- 
tion, and paid an eloquent tribute to his memory. He then made 
a brief but most appropriate address, and introduced as orator of 
the evening Major John \V Daniel, of Lynchburg — "one known 
in the annals of the State, as well as a gallant soldier who served 
on General Early's staff." 

Major Daniel was received with deafening applause, and was 
frequently cheered to the echo as he delivered the following 
address : 


Fellow Soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia — Not with 
the ringing bugle nor the throbbing drum in our van, nor with 
the battle flag floating proudly o'er our "tattered uniforms and 
bright muskets," come we again to the historic city which was 
once the busy arsenal and the glowing heart of the Confederate 

Stately palaces now line the avenues so lately filled with 
charred and smoking ruins. The fields around us smile in culti- 
vated beauty where lately trod the iron hoof of war, "fetlock 
deep in blood." The lordly river, no longer grim with batteries 
on its banks and iron-clads upon its surface, nor choked with 
obstructions in its channel, rolls its majestic tides in unbroken 
currents to the sea. And save here and there, where some rude 
earthwork, overgrown with grass and weeds, scars the landscape, 
fair nature tells no tale of the devastation of civil strife. 

But long after the elements of changing seasons and the slow 
process of time have obliterated from the physical world every 
scar and stain of conflict, the scenes around us, animate with 
their heroic actors, shall be portrayed to other generations with 
all the vividness of artist's brush and poet's song, and faithful 
chroniclers shall recount to eager ears the story which has made 


the name of Richmond not less memorable than the name of 
ancient Troy, and has immortalized those more than Trojan 
heroes the devoted citizen soldiery of the Army of Northern 

Surviving comrades of that valiant host, I hail you with a com- 
rade's warmest greeting. In Virginia's name I welcome you 
back to Virginia's capital city, amongst those generous people 
who nerved your arms by their cheerful courage, who bent over 
your wounds with ministering care, who consoled adversity by 
fidelity, and plucked from defeat its sting. 

Here to-night we come as men of peace — faithfully rendering 
unto Caesar the things that are his — but happy to touch elbows 
once more together in the battle of life, and proud to revive the 
cherished memories of the "brave days of yore," and to renew 
the solemn and high resolve that their bright examples and great 
actions shall not perish from the records of time. 

Happier, indeed, would I have been if, on this occasion, the 
task of reproducing some page of your famous history had been 
confided to other and abler hands than mine; for in this distin- 
guished presence, with my superiors in rank, ability and military 
services around me, the soldier's sense of subordination creeps 
over me, and I would fain fall back into the ranks of those who 
are seen but not heard. 

But since it is I who am appointed to play the role of the old 
soldier — 

" Who shoulflers his crutch 
And shows how fields were won," 

I bow obediently to orders, trusting that the splendor of my 
themes may obscure the deficiences of your orator, and that your 
generosity — as characteristic of the soldier as his courage — may 
sheathe the critic's sword in its scabbard. 


In their courteous letter of invitation, your Committee ex- 
pressed the desire that I should select as the subject of my dis- 
course some one of the great campaigns or battles of the Army 
of Northern Virginia. And, acceding to their wishes, I reviewed 
in my mind the long line of its splendid achievements, no little 
embarrassed, by their very variety and brilliancy, in fixing atten- 
tion upon any particular one. There was no campaign of that 
matchless army that did not abound in glorious exploits of both 
generals and soldiers. There was no single action, whatever its 
result, that draped the battle flag in dishonor, and it is a signifi- 


cant fact — an eternal eulogy in itself to that stout-hearted band 
of heroes — that it never was driven in disorder from any field 
of battle under its enemy's fire, until when, worn out by ceaseless 
strife with constant levies of fresh men, it was overwhelmed by 
Grant at Petersburg, and closed its career with undiminished 
glory on the field of Appomattox. 


But there is this equally remarkable fact in the history of the 
Army of Northern Virginia — that almost all of its engagements 
were attended by no decisive results. The capitals of the two 
belligerant nations (Washington and Richmond) were but one 
hundred and thirty miles distant, and that portion of Virginia 
lying between them became an immense amphitheatre of conflict, 
within which the armies of the Potomac and of Northern Vir- 
ginia, like fierce gladiators, repeated from year to year their 
bloody contests, with fortunes varying only sufficiently to brighten 
hope or beget depression, but continually postponing the glitter- 
ing prize which each aimed to attain. 

To and fro — from the heights around Alexandria, whence the 
soaring dome of the National capitol loomed up before the Con- 
federate's vision, back to these memorable fields around Rich- 
mond, whence the Federal pickets sighted its tempting spires — 
rolled the incessant tides of battle, with alternations of success, 
until all Northern Virginia became upheaved with entrenchments, 
billowed with graves, saturated with blood, seared with fire, 
stripped to desolation, and kneaded under the feet, hoofs and 
wheels of the marching columns. 

At the first battle of Manassas the cordon of fortifications 
around Washington prevented a rout from becoming an annihi- 
lation, and that battle only decided that other battles would be 
needed to decide anything. 

At Williamsburg, McClellan, who succeeded McDowell, the 
displaced commander of Manassas, received a sharp rebuff, which 
decided nothing but that the antagonists would have to close 

At Seven Pines the fall of our skillful General Joseph E. John- 
ston, at a critical moment, and the consequent delay which en- 
abled Sedgwick to cross the swollen waters of the Chickahominy, 
ended the prospect of making that more than a field of gallant 
and brilliant endeavor. 

At Malvern Hill a curious mistake, which led one subordinate 
to pursue a wrong road, and the lamentable delay of others, com- 
bined with the really valorous defence of that key-position, ex- 


tinguished the high tide of victory in the volcanic fires of that 
battery-crowned summit, and closed with the escape of the enemy 
to his gunboats and the disappointment of his adversary 

The second field of Manassas, in which the redoubtable John 
Pope, who, having seen before "only the backs of his enemies," 
entered the fact of record that his curiosity was entirely satiated 
with a single glimpse of their faces, was only the prelude of a 
more deadly struggle at Sharpsburg ; and as Manassas only de- 
cided that it would require another effort of the Federal army to 
beat us on our own soil, Sharpsburg only decided that we would 
have to gird our loins once more to overwhelm it upon its own. 

At Fredericksburg in December, 1862, Burnside, having blindly 
hurled his army against Lee's entrenchments, managed to repeat 
the manoeuvre of the French King, who "marched up the hill 
and down again " — and to regain the opposite bank of the Rap- 
pahannock without a foot of ground lost or won — leaving that 
ill-starred field behind him as a memorial of nothing but wasted 
life and courage on the one side, and cool, steady, self-poised in- 
trepidity on the other. 

And at Chancellorsville, in the spring of 1863, when Hooker 
assailed by flank the same field which Burnside charged in front, 
a famous stroke of generalship, directed by Lee and executed 
by Jackson, placed him side by side on the stool of penitence 
with his predecessor. But there a great calamity planted a thorn 
in the crown of victory, gave pause to the advance of the con- 
quering banner, and turned to safe retreat what promised to be 
the rout and annihilation of the Federal army. That calamity 
was the fall of " Stonewall " Jackson — Lee's incomparble lieuten- 
ant — whose genius had shed undying lustre on the Confederate 
arms and before whose effigy to-day the two worlds bow in honor. 

And so the end of two years found the two armies still pitted 
against each other in the same arena, with proud Washington 
behind the one, still egging it to the attack for the honor of the 
old flag and the solidarity of the Union; and defiant Richmond 
still behind the other, upholding it with words and deeds of 
cheer, and bidding it never to weary in well doing for the cause 
of liberty and Confederate independence. 


But while the status of the combatants in Virginia had re- 
ceived no decisive change, it became obvious in the spring of 
1863 that an hour big with destiny was near at hand. The 
Arm)- of the Potomac had become disheartened by continuous 
adversity Five chosen chieftains — McDowell, McClellan, Pope, 


Burnside, Hooker — had led it to battle in superb array; but its 
ranks had only been recruited to march again to defeat and 
decimation. The term of enlistment of nearly forty thousand of 
its rank and file had now expired,* and as they marched to the 
rear, homeward bound, no counter column was moving to sup- 
ply their vacant places. With the Northern people hope of vic- 
tory deferred had made the heart sick of strife, and the " Copper- 
head" faction, like the Republicans of Paris when Napoleon was 
marching against the allied armies of Waterloo, was agitating 
schemes against the Government and the prolongation of the 
war. The paper currency, like a thermometer on the stock ex- 
change, showed that the pulse of the popular faith was beating 
low. Factory hands, without cotton to spin, cried for bread, and 
were not content to take muskets and go to the feast of blood. 
Foreign powers had lost confidence in Mr. Seward's three- 
months' promissory notes of victory, which had so often been 
renewed and had now gone to protest; and it is said that our 
diplomatic agents abroad authoritatively announced that should 
Lee establish now a lodgment in the North, his triumph should 
be greeted with the long-sought boon of foreign recognition. 

On the Confederate side our line of battle, although in the 
east unbroken, was but an iron shell with emptiness within. 
Hungry mobs had been rioting through Richmond with the fear- 
ful cry of "Bread!" "Bread!" The plantations had not only 
been swept of their provender, but the tillers of the soil and 
their beasts of burden had likewise been absorbed into the ranks 
of war. And to increase the gravity of the situation, our West- 
ern horizon was overhung with omens of disaster. There the 
progress of the Union arms had been steadily forward. Missouri, 
Kentucky and parts of Tennessee and Arkansas had been con- 
quered. Along the Mississippi river, Columbus, Island No. IO, 
Fort Pillow, Memphis and New Orleans had fallen; and now 
Vicksburg, a solitary sentinel upon its banks, alone prevented 
the Father of Waters from " rolling unvexed to the sea." 

This post, like a ligature upon an artery, severed the Federal 
line of military communication from the Northwest to the Gulf 
of Mexico, and isolated the Western States from their markets. 
Its early conquest was foreshadowed, and with that the Northern 
heart would be again fired with hope and a blow struck into the 
very vitals of the Confederacy. 

*See volume I, Conduct of the War. 



Could the hitherto invincible Army of Northern Virginia now 
launch forth a telling blow against its adversary, and anticipate 
the bursting of the storm cloud in the West by a sunburst of de- 
cisive victory in the East, disaster there would be counterbalanced, 
if not forestalled and prevented. The peace party of the North 
would be reinforced in numbers and strengthened in resolution, 
recruits would be deterred from enrolling under the blighted ban- 
ners of defeat; the bonds and Treasury notes of the United 
States would rapidly decline in value, thus relaxing the sinews of 
war; and foreign powers, hungry for cotton, and weary of idle 
factories and freightless ships and marketless wares, would stretch 
forth the hand of recognition, and welcome the young battle- 
crowned Confederacy into the family of nations. The broad 
military mind of General Lee fully compassed the crisis, and he 
boldly projected the scheme of forcing Hooker from his position 
opposite to Fredericksburg, expelling Milroy from the Valley, and, 
to use his language, "transferring the scene of hostilities beyond 
the Potomac." 


The sequel of this plan of operations was the battle of Gettys- 
burg, fought in the heart of the enemy's country. There for 
three days the two armies wrestled over hill and plain in terrific 
struggle. There, on the third day, the most magnificent aharge 
of infantry known in the annals of modern war, closed with the 
bloody repulse of the Confederate assaulting column. 

And while Lee was marshaling his troops in front of Cemetery 
Ridge, the white flag was flying over Pemberton's works at 

Those memorable days marked the meridian of the Confede- 
rate cause. It was not then extinguished, but its sun paled and 
descended slowly to its setting. 

As the water-shed of the Alleghanies is the division line 
between the waters which flow eastward into the Atlantic ocean 
and those which empty into the Gulf through the Mississippi 
Valley, so Cemetery Ridge marks the turning point of the tides 
of battle. Up to that rugged crest they rolled in triumph, pour- 
ing the trophies of victory into the lap of the Confederacy. 
Beyond they rolled in sullen and gloomy turbulence toward the 
final catastrophe of Appomattox. 

These considerations induced me, comrades, to invite your 
attention to the campaign of Gettysburg. 


I know it requires no little courage to fight a battle " o'er again " 
— but those whose valor deserved success need never shrink from 
the memory of adversity. 


On June 3, 1863, General Lee broke his camp before Fred- 
ericksburg; and leaving Hill's corps to watch Hooker's army, 
which was separated from it only by the Rappahannock river, turned 
the heads of Longstreet's and Ewell's corps northward. His 
design was to draw Hooker out into the open field and defeat 
him before crossing the Potomac. But in this he was disappointed, 
not so much by the skill of his adversary as by the absence of 
harmony in his councils. 

Hooker's plan was to cross the Rappahannock, fall upon Hill 
with his whole army, and then make a bold push for Richmond. 
Had he made this effort Lee intended to take him in flank; and 
the result I scarcely think would have been doubtful. But Mr. 
Lincoln positively forbade Hooker to make this attempt, quaintly 
saying that he (Hooker) would thus become " entangled upon the 
river like an ox jumped half over a fence, and liable to be torn 
by dogs front and rear without a fair chance to gore one way or 
kick the other." On the contrary, Lincoln desired Hooker to 
attack Lee's army while stretched out on the line of march; 
and on the 14th of June, the very day that our vanguard struck 
Milroy at Winchester, we find him sending Hooker another 
characteristic message from Washington : 

"Major-General Hooker — So far as we can make out here the 
enemy have Milroy surrounded at Winchester and Tyler at Mar- 
tinsburg. If they could hold out a few days could you help them ? 
If the head of Lee's army is at Martinsburg and the tail of it on 
the plank road between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville the 
animal must be very slim somewhere.* 

"A. Lincoln." 

So it happened that Lincoln, not liking Hooker's plan, nor 
Hooker Lincoln's (which was concurred in by Halleck, com- 
mander-in-chief at Washington), neither was adopted. And 
Hooker contented himself (after sending a corps south of the 
Rappahannock and then withdrawing it) with falling back to the 
vicinity of Fairfax Courthouse and closely hugging his entrench- 

* See Volume I, Conduct of the War, page 260. 


In these preliminary movements all the advantage in general- 
ship and in results was on the Confederate side. Hooker has 
been much complimented for supposed skill in his manoeuvres, 
but they were the result of his quarrel with Lincoln, and not of 
design; and the reports show that he was in a state of great per- 
plexity and indecision, on one day dispatching to the Government 
his opinion that invasion was Lee's "settled purpose" and "an act 
of desperation,"* and two days later suggesting that the move- 
ment was a mere cavalry raid, "a cover to Lee's reinforcing 
Bragg or moving troops to the West."f 


While Hooker thus crouched under his heavy works, Lee 
marched triumphantly toward the Potomac; and on the 14th of 
June the first laurel of the campaign was plucked by Ewell at 
Winchester, where a brilliant flank movement, conceived by Gen- 
eral Early and executed by his division, with the co-operation of 
Johnson's, resulted in the capture of that place with four thou- 
sand prisoners, twenty-three pieces of artillery, three hundred 
wagons, three hundred horses, and an immense supply of much- 
needed stores and munitions. 

On the same day General Rodes captured at Martinsburg one 
hundred prisoners and five pieces of cannon; and thus the great 
Northern highway, "the Valley pike," was cleared of all obstruc- 
tions and the gate to Pennsylvania thrown open. 

On the 15th of June General Jenkins with his cavalry crossed 
the Potomac. Within the next ten days the three infantry corps 
of our army, under Longstreet, Ewell and A. P Hill, likewise 
crossed, and on the 24th of June the whole Army of Northern 
Virginia, in magnificent fighting trim and flush with victor}', 
stood upon the enemy's soil. 


While these movements were progressing, the cavalry under 
Stuart had several times crossed sabres with the troopers of 
Pleasanton, without detriment to their own reputation or that of 
their General. And in leaving Virginia with his main force, 
General Lee had taken every precaution to utilize these "eyes 
and ears" of the army by sending them to watch and impede 
Hooker's movements. His orders to General Stuart were "to 
guard the passes of the mountains and observe the movements 

'See volume I, Conduct of the War, page 101. tSee same work, page 271. 

.q8 memorial volume. 

of the enemy, whom he was instructed to harass and impede as 
much as possible should he attempt to cross the Potomac. In 
that event General Stuart was directed to move into Maryland, 
crossing the Potomac east or west of the Blue Ridge, as in his 
judgment should be best, and take position on the right of our 
column as it advanced." (Lee's first report.) 

In operating under these instructions, an untoward circum- 
stance occurred, which eliminated the cavalry from the available 
forces of Lee at a time when he most needed it. Stuart had 
followed closely upon the rear of Hooker in Fairfax and Loud- 
oun counties, when, upon the 24th of June, the latter determined 
to fall back no further, and suddenly threw his army forward into 
Maryland to seize the Turner's and Crampton's gaps of South 
mountains, near Boonsboro', which covered the line of advance 
from Lee's army to Baltimore through Frederick, Maryland.* 

The effect though not the design of this movement was to 
throw Hooker between Stuart and Lee; and as the former was 
crossing the Potomac at Edwards' ferry, near Leesburg, it became 
necessary for Stuart to make a wide detour, south in order to 
cross above him, or to cut in between Hooker and Washington, 
and pass northward, in order to rejoin his Commander. Acting 
within the discretion given him (and not otherwise, as some have 
supposed), Stuart adopted the latter route as the shortest, cross- 
ing at Seneca Falls. f 

But, unfortunately, Hooker continued his march northward, 
continuously interposing himself before Stuart; and thus, when 
he had advanced so far as to be right upon the flank of Lee's 
only line of retreat to Virginia, the latter, who had distributed 
his forces near Chambersburg, Carlisle and York, was utterly 
ignorant of the enemy's movements, and, receiving no message 
from Stuart, supposed that Hooker still remained on the Virginia 
side of the Potomac. 

lee's concentration for battle. 

On the night of June 28th (not the 29th, as stated in Lee's 
first report), a cavalry scout of General Longstreet's rode into 
that officer's headquarters, near Chambersburg, with the momen- 
tous tidings that the Army of the Potomac had crossed the river 
and was then gathering near Frederick, Maryland. Hooker was 
thus in position to seize the South mountain passes and cut off 
Lee's communications. General Lee was at the time about to 
push forward and capture Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylva- 

*Sr-e volume I, Conduct of the War, page 169. 

t See General Lee's second report in Southern Magazine for August, 1S72, page 210. 


nia, scarce a day's march distant, which, being defended by mili- 
tja mainly, under General Couch, could not have withstood the 
assault of our veteran troops. But with Hooker thus on his 
flank and rear, the continuance of the scheme became hazardous, 
and he determined at once to concentrate his army east of the 
mountains, thus threatening Baltimore and Washington, and in 
order to deter the enemy, to use his language, "from advancing 
further west and intercepting our communications with Virginia." 
Accordingly the movement against Harrisburg was abandoned, 
and the next day General Lee issued orders for the concentra- 
tion of all his troops at Cashtown, a village five miles from Gettys- 
burg, and on the direct road which passes through that place to 

hooker's plan. 

The report of Longstreet's scout was true, and Lee had keenly 
divined his enemy's intentions; for Hooker had moved forward 
into Maryland and had given directions to General Reynolds, 
who commanded the right wing of the army, to seize the moun- 
tain passes which have been mentioned, and to take position at 
Middletown, in rear of them, in the valley between the South 
mountain and the Catoctin range. At the same time he had 
himself gone to Harper's Ferry, whence he proposed to move 
with the Twefth corps and the garrison there of eleven thousand 
men directly upon Williamsport, thus severing Lees line of 
communication to Virginia, and stopping the transit of supplies 
which he was sending back in immense quantities from Pennsyl- 

On the morning of the 27th of June he had seated himself and 
was engaged in writing an order for the abandonment of that 
post at daylight, with a view to proceeding with this plan of ope- 
rations. But just at that moment a dispatch was received from 
General Halleck, requiring the garrison to remain there. The 
latter officer, whose self-conceit was only equalled by his inca- 
pacity, excited the indignation of Hooker by thus trammeling 
him, while in the face of Lee's army, with instructions full of foil)' ; 
for Harper's Ferry, at this juncture, was a strategic point of no 
earthly consequence, and rather than submit to such interfer- 
ence he at once requested to be relieved of command of the 
Arm}- of the Potomac. His request was at once granted. 


On the night of the same day, Major-General G. C. Meade, 
commanding the Fifth corps of the Army of the Potomac, was 


asleep in his tent near Frederick, Maryland, when he was aroused 
by General Hardie, a bearer of dispatches from Washington. 
Meade, who had severely criticised Hooker for his alleged inca- 
pacity at Chancellorsville, supposed that he was about to be 
placed under arrest by that officer, who had threatened to do so, 
and he immediately inquired of Genral Hardie if he came for 
that purpose. The latter, evading the question, struck a light 
and placed in his hand an order directing him to assume com- 
mand of the Army of the Potomac, "and committing to him all 
the powers of the Executive and the constitution, to the end 
that he might wield untrammeled all the resources of the nation 
to meet the emergency of the invasion." 

On the next day, June 28th, while yet Lee was threatening 
Harrisburg, Meade assumed command ; and on the 29th, ignorant 
that Lee had abandoned that movement, he determined to move 
at once from the vicinity of Federick toward Harrisburg, to 
compel Lee (to use Meade's language) "to loose his hold on the 
Susquehannah and meet him in battle at some point." Accord- 
ingly, on the very day that Lee's columns moved eastward 
toward Baltimore, in order to counteract a supposed manoeuvre 
upon his communications, Meade, equally ignorant of his antag- 
onist's change of front, moved northward to stay a supposed 
advance upon Harrisburg. And adding to these complications, 
Stuart, who had swept around Meade's flank, was at the same 
time moving toward Carlisle, he himself being as ignorant of 
Lee's intentions as Meade, and supposing that he would find his 
Commander upon the line of the Susquehannah. Now, right in 
the line of Meade's northward march, and of Lee's eastward 
march, lies the old-fashioned town of Gettysburg, and to that 
point the two hostile forces were now converging, each in utter 
darkness as to the other's movements, and little imagining that 
that sequestered hamlet was destined to become the scene of a 
tremendous struggle, which would make its name resound 
throughout the ages as memorable as that of Waterloo. 


The 30th of June was a day of busy preparation. On that 
day the new commander of the Federal Army issued his orders 
of march, directing the seven corps of which his forces were 
composed to move as follows: The Third to Emmettsburg, 
Second to Taneytown, Fifth to Hanover, Twelfth to Two Tav- 
erns, Sixth to Manchester, while the First and Eleventh, con- 
stituting, with the Third, the right wing, under Reynolds, were 
to proceed with Buford's cavalry division to Gettysburg. That 


same morning, Pettigrcw's brigade, of Heth's division, Hill's 
corps, which had deen ordered to Gettysburg to procure shoes 
and supplies, approached that place on the Cashtown road, and 
its head of column had reached the crest of Seminary Ridge, 
within easy cannon-shot of the town, when at the same time the 
advance of Buford's cavalry reached the town from the opposite 
direction.* The Confederate brigade retired to Cashtown, some 
five miles distant, and Buford, occupying the place, established 
his division in front, along or near the line of Willoughby run, 
covering the approaches to it by the Chambersburg, Mummas- 
burg, Carlisle and Harrisburg roads. General Reynolds, with the 
First and Eleventh corps, came at the same time to within a few 
miles of Gettysburg, on the Emmettsburg road, and halted for 
the night. That evening Meade became satisfied, from tidings 
received, that Lee was moving towards Gettysburg; but neither 
he nor General Lee seem to have had any knowledge of the 
great strategic consequence of that place ; and the latter, still 
without report from his cavalry, fitly termed the "eyes of the 
army," was groping like a blind Titan for his enemy, unconscious 
that Meade's advance columns were within a few hours' march of 
his own. 

Such is war — a game of skill and chance — a game of chess, 
and "blind man's buff" compounded together. 


With the dawn of July ist, Heth's and Pender's divisions of 
Hill's corps sallied forth from Cashtown to reconnoitre and assail 
the force seen by Pettigrew the day before; and at the same time 
Rodes' and Early's divisions started for Cashtown from Heidlers- 
burg, where they had rested the preceding night. Longstreet's 
corps slowly brought up Lee's rear from Chambersburg, and 
Johnson's division was yet over the mountains, near Greencastle 
and Scotland, with Ewcll's reserve artillery. A little before ten 
o'clock Hill's advance came up with Buford's cavalrymen, who 
were dismounted and posted as infantry; and a skirmish com- 
menced, which swelled into a combat; a combat, which swelled 
into the greatest battle ever fought on this continent — for there, 
unconsciously to all, the battle of Gettysburg began. Hill ad- 
vanced cautiously, supposing that he fought infantry, and for two 
hours there were sharp passages between the contestants without 
important results. 

From the steeple of the Theological Seminar}', which gives 

* General H. II th confirms this statement. 


name to the ridge in front of which Buford's troops were in line, 
the signal officer of that General at this moment discerned in the 
distance the corps headquarters flag of Reynolds, and Buford him- 
self, sighting the telescope, recognized that succor was coming, 
and exclaimed, " We can now hold the place." In a few moments 
Reynolds himself dashed up, and swiftly after him the First corps, 
under Doubleday, came pouring across the fields, and in a short 
time a desperate engagement was raging along the line. Reyn- 
olds at once dispatched for the Eleventh corps, of Howard, and 
the Third, of Sickles, which were a few miles away, to hasten to 
the field. But while they were being summoned to the rescue, 
the intonations of cannon had reached the ears of Ewell, Rodes 
and Early. Xo other than these "sightless couriers of the air" 
needed they, and, turning off from the Cashtown road, those 
gallant soldiers pushed on their columns toward the booming of 
the guns. Howard's leading brigades had scarcely strengthened 
the lines of Doubleday, when Rodes came thundering upon his 
front, and until two o'clock the contending forces charged and 
countercharged, each fighting with an ardor worthy of the great 
stake that was trembling in the balance. 


If you will look at the map you will perceive that the Union 
line of battle, parallel with Seminary Ridge, ran almost due north 
and south. The road from Heidlersburg to Gettysburg strikes 
this position right on the rear of the right flank, and on this road 
Early's veterans — their steps quickened by every note of the 
guns — were pressing on, with all the celerity which had earned 
some of them under Jackson the soubriquet of the "foot-cavalry 
of the Valley." 

It was about two o'clock. General Early rode at the division 
head with his staff. A heavy mist was falling, and the hot sun 
of July subdued by its refreshing moisture. As we neared the 
scene of conflict a few cavalry pickets scampered off When 
reaching an eminence about a mile from the town at once the 
glorious panorama of battle was spread before our eyes; and 
indeed it was — 

" A glorious sight to see 
To him who had no iriend, no brother there." 

Aye! more glorious still to those whose friends and brothers 
zccrc there — making the field radiant with deeds worthy of old 
Sparta's time, when there were giant's upon the earth. 

Just in front, nestling on the slope of Cemetery Hill, lay Get- 


tysburg. Fields, rich with the summer harvests and dotted with 
cosy, rustic rromes, stretched forth in our front, while on the 
right of the town, scarce a mile distant, wreathed in the smoke 
of batteries and battalions, could be distinctly seen the long lines 
of Confederate gray and Union blue, now rushing to the charge, 
now pouring volleys into each other's bosoms, now commingled 
in undistinguishable melee, while ever and anon there rose over 
the sullen roar of musketry and cannon the mechanical " Hip, 
hip! hurrah!" of the Federal infantry, or soared aloft that sound 
once heard, never to be forgotten — the clear, sonorous, hearty, 
soul-stirring ring of the Confederate cheer. General Early saw 
with a glance that he was right on the Federal flank, and that a 
charge with his division would settle the fortunes of the day 
"Tell Gordon, Hays, Avery and Smith to double-quick to the 
front," said he, "and open the lines of infantry for the artillery 
to pass." Scarce said but done. Colonel Hilary P Jones, with 
his batteries, came thundering to the front, with his horses at a 
run; and with their men at a double-quick, Gordon, Hays and 
Avery (commanding Hoke's brigade) deployed right and left, 
while gallant old "Extra Billy" Smith formed in reserve. As 
Jones' guns were getting into position, a battery at the gallop 
took post in front, and General Howard, whose corps was on 
the Federal right, stretched it out and bent it around to head off 
this portentous movement. Midway between us and the town 
flowed a little creek with rugged, wooded banks, and as our 
troops were double-quicking forward into line, Barlow's division 
was forming behind this stream to meet them. Riding behind 
Gordon's brigade, we heard the ringing voice of the gallant 
Georgian as he shouted, "Forward, Georgians!" And 'steadily 
forward across the yellow wheat fields we saw the line of 
Georgians, Louisianians and Carolinians roll, their burnished 
bayonets making a silver wave across a cloth of gold. Now 
they disappear in the copse of woods along the stream; then 
comes the wild cheer and the crashing volley, and a cloud of 
smoke wraps the combatants ; a moment more and the open 
fields beyond were filled with the heavy, disordered masses of 
Howard's corps flying in wild confusion. The slaughter was 
terrific. In front of Gordon, where Barlow was aligned, lay a 
line of wounded and dead men who had fallen as'they stood, and 
in their midst lay Barlow himself sorely stricken. Not Dessaix 
at Marengo, nor Blucher at Waterloo, struck a more decisive 
blow The Federal flank had been shriveled up as a scroll, and 
the whole force gave way On all sides, pouring up the slopes 
into Gettysburg, fled the broken host, while closely at their heels 
followed 1 1 ill and Rodes on the one side and Earl)- on the other. 


At this time a band of Rodes' division struck up a soul-stirring 
strain, and with triumphant music chiming in with the sharp 
rattle of the pursuing muskets, the Confederates drove their 
beaten enemy into and through the streets of the captured town. 


Reaching the town, the joyous veterans of the Second corps 
exclaimed, as their officers passed along their lines, " Let us go 
on ! " General Early, the first officer of his rank to reach the 
place, at once sought General Ewell to urge "an immediate 
advance upon the enemy before he could recover from his evi- 
dent dismay"; but before he could be found, a report came from 
General (better known as "Extra Billy") Smith, that a heavy 
column of infantry, artillery and cavalry was marching upon our 
left flank on the York road. Gordon's brigade had to be de- 
tached to go the threatened point, and this for a time diverted 
attention from the pursuit. General Early, not finding Ewell, 
sent a messenger to General A. P Hill urging that an immediate 
advance be made upon the enemy, who had fallen back to the 
heights beyond the town. 

In the meantime, General Ewell came up, and he at once re- 
solved to seize a wooded height called Culp's Hill, which com- 
manded the enemy's position on the left, as soon as Johnson's 
division, yet absent, should arrive. 

Between five and six o'clock in the afternoon a "rough and 
ready" looking soldier, bronzed-face, with a heavy staff in his 
hand, which looked as combative as an Irishman's shillalah, rode 
up to our lines, and behind him, covered with the stains of a 
rapid march, came streaming along, with faces eager for the fray, 
the famous s"oldiers of the old Stonewall division, now under 
General Edward Johnson — "Old Alleghany," as they loved to 
call him— who looked, as he rode with his heavy club at their 
head, as if he could thrash out an army himself with that ponderous 

Now, thought our gallant men, who were chafing to be un- 
leashed, we shall go on; now, thought all, the tide has come 
which "taken at its flood leads on to fortune"; but in the mean- 
time the enemy sent forward a line of infantry and occupied the 
hill which Ewell designed to s'eize. Our artillery, from the 
nature of the field, could not be served to advantage, and the 
report was revived that a column was moving upon our left flank. 
This report was utterly groundless, but before it could be sifted 
and Johnson s division gotten into position, darkness had thrown 
its protecting wings over the shattered Federal lines. And so 
the tide went by 



It has been the almost universal sentiment of soldiers and 
civilians that a great blunder was made in not pressing on after 
the enemy when he was driven through Gettysburg, and Gene- 
rals Ewell and Lee have both been sharply criticised for halting. 

"Never," says Mr. Swinton, one of the best war writers, "was 
pause at the door of victory more fatal to the hopes of a com- 

It is true there existed many temptations to press the pursuit. 
We had met the enemy for the first time on the soil of a North- 
ern State and disastrously routed two corps of his army, with a 
loss to them of two cannon and nearly five thousand prisoners, f 
and how shattered their remnants must have been is evidenced 
by the fact that the Eleventh corps, which mustered seven thou- 
sand four hundred muskets that morning, could scarcely count 
half that number that night; while the First was reduced from 
eight thousand two hundred to two thousand four hundred and 
fifty — scarcely a fouth being left. But General Lee's situation 
was a peculiar one. The cavalry was absent, and he had no in- 
formation of the whereabouts or numbers of his adversary The 
prisoners stated that Meade with his main force was rapidly 
approaching Gettysburg, and some of our own officers reported 
that heavy colums were threatening our left flank. Besides, we 
had suffered severe losses. Under these circumstances, says 
General Lee in his report, "without information as to its (Meade's 
army's) proximity, the strong position which the enemy had 
assumed could not be attacked without danger of exposing the 
four divisions present, already weakened and exhausted by a 
long and bloody struggle, to overwhelming numbers of fresh 
troops, "l and so it was determined to await the arrival of Long- 

Now, it happens that General Lee's speculations were entirely 
verified, and it is very doubtful indeed whether, if accurate in- 
formation had been possessed as to the enemy's situation, a 
renewal of the attack would have been prudent. It is disclosed 
in the Federal reports of this campaign that when General How- 
ard on that morning had marched to the relief of Reynolds, he 
had (what Napoleon said a good general ought always to do in 
going into battle) provided against exactly what followed — a 
disastrous defeat. 

* See Swinton's Decisive Battles, psw :'.:',•!. 
t See Swinton's Decisive Buttles, nago 331. 
J See Lee's second report. 



Noticing that Cemetery Hill, just in rear of Gettysburg, was 
a position of commanding importance, he had posted there one 
of his divisions, commanded by General Alexander von Stein- 
werh, an accomplished officer, who had been schooled in the 
Prussian service. That officer had planted his artillery along the 
crest of that hill, and around its base were low stone walls rising 
tier above tier, behind which he had posted his infantry. While 
the battle was raging in front he had thrown up lunettes around 
each gun, and, according to the Northern historian of Gettysburg, 
■"they were not mere heaps of stubble and turf, but solid works 
of such height and thickness as to defy the most powerful bolts 
which the enemy (Confederates) could throw against him, with 
smooth and level platforms on which the guns could be worked."* 
Besides this fresh division, Buford's dismounted cavalry division 
had retired in good order to the crest of this hill, and when the 
two infantry corps were driven back upon Cemetery Hill they 
came, to use the same writer's language, "into the folds of an 
impregnable fortress." f 

Now, in the light of these events, bold is he who assumes to 
be the censor. Had Ewell hurled his two divisions against this 
natural fortress — now doubly fortified with pick and spade — be- 
fore Johnson came up, and been repulsed by the heavy artillery 
and fresh troops lying in wait, who would not have said it was 
rash, hot-headed and ill-considered? Had Lee, without waiting 
for Longstreet, pushed on when he came up and then been 
beaten, who would not have said that ardor had gotten the better 
of his discretion ? And, indeed, by the hour Lee arrived, the 
Twelfth corps, under Slocum, and the Third, under Sickles, had 
gotten within supporting distance of their comrades, and they 
actually reached the field between six and seven o'clock.^ 

On the whole, it is difficult to see that either General Lee or 
General Ewell is open to just criticism for not pushing on, though 
such is my own faith in the superb gallantry of our troops, that 
I believe they would have annihilated the forces then in their 
front. But this would have been far from a decisive result, as 
Meade, with the great body of his army, would then have fallen 
back and formed a new line nearer to Washington. 


The conflict of July 1st had been entirely a chapter of accidents. 
Commencing with the affair of Heth's division with Buford's 

* See Bates' History of the Battle of Giettysburg, page 76. tlbid, page 80. 

t See Bates' History, page 181, and Everett's o-ation, fourth volume Everett's Orations and 
Speeches, page 635. Bimey's division of the Third corps formed on Cemeterv Kidge about 
Ave o'clock. See General Birney's statement, first volume Conduct of the War, page 366. 


cavalry, it had attracted reinforcements from both armies by the 
sound of its guns, as the maelstrom gathers into its vortex the 
craft that float upon the surrounding waters. 

At the very hour when Buford's men were going into action, 
an order, dated that very day, was being distributed by Meade 
from his headquarters, at Taneytown, fourteen miles away, among 
his corps commanders, announcing his intention "to withdraw 
his army from its presents position, and form line of battle, with 
the right resting in the neighborhood of Middleburg, and the 
left at Manchester — the general direction being that of Pipe 
creek"* (which stream is about fifteen miles from Gettysburg); 
and when General Reynolds rode to Buford's rescue he fell upon 
the field to which the guns had summoned himf with an order 
in his pocket to fall back from Gettysburg and Emettsburg with 
the First, Eleventh and Third Corps, which were under him, to 

The tidings of the battle, borne back to Meade at Taneytown, 
were accompanied with the announcement that General Reynolds 
had fallen. Still he did not himself go to the front, so slow was 
he to appreciate that there the great battle-cloud would burst; 
but he sent forward General Hancock, the best of his lieutenants. 
That officer reached the field just as the broken columns of the 
First and Eleventh corps were flying for refuge to the summit of 
Cemetery Hill. Hancock was a fighting man, of resolute gal- 
lantry and magnetic presence. He soon restored order along the 
lines, and, sending Wadsworth's division to Culp's Hill, check- 
mated the movement of Ewell to get that commanding height 
efore him. J Having made his dispositions, he rode back to 
Meade, at Taneytown, and reported that the field was favorable 
for a general action. At ten o'clock that night Meade started 
forward, and reached Cemetery Hill at one o'clock, while all 
along behind him the roads were filled by the artillery and in- 
fantry of his army, pressing on to the stage which fate, rather 
than foresight, had appointed for the great drama of war. 

By morning all his corps had reached within supporting dis- 
tance of the field, except the Sixth, which was started from Man- 
chester, thirty-six miles distant, the afternoon before. 

On our side all the infantry but Pickett's division was up. 
Stuart, "the indefatigable" — Stuart, "the lion-hearted" — with 
Hampton and "Light Horse" Lees, had come. The plume that 
never danced so joyously as in the storm of battle, the sabre 
whose electric light had so often cleaved with a flash the path 
to victory, were read}- to lead the squadrons to the onset once 

' See Conduct nl the War, volume I, p i«e 353. tlbid, page 3f4. 

I Sri- iKiirial llane nk's testimony, page 4()r>, Conduct of the War, volume I. 


more. And there, crowning the opposite ridges with batteries, 
bayonets and sabres, the Army of Northern Virginia and the 
Army of the Potomac surveyed each other, marshaled in solid, 
well-ordered array of battle. 


" It had not been intended," says General Lee (see his first 
report), "to fight a general battle at such a distance from our 
base unless attacked by the enemy; but finding ourselves unex- 
pectedly confronted by the Federal army, it became a matter of 
difficulty to withdraw through the mountains with our large 
trains. At the same time, the country was unfavorable for col- 
lecting supplies while in the presence of the enemy's main body, 
as he was enabled to restrain our foraging parties by occupying 
the passes of the mountains with regular and local troops. A 
battle thus became, in a measure, unavoidable. Encouraged by 
the successful issue of the engagement of the first day, and in 
view of the valuable results that would ensue from the defeat of 
the army of General Meade, it was thought advisable to renew 
the attack." So the first days fight had changed our Com- 
mander's plan; and when he left a conference held with Generals 
Ewell, Early and Rodes, at the close of the day, the understand- 
ing was that with the light the contest should be renewed. In 
planning for the assault, the vigilant eye of Lee had not failed to 
take in the salient points of 


Away to the right of our line there rose up a bold promontory, 
known as little "Little Round Lop" — a bald granite spur, con- 
stituting a natural fortress, and commanding, from the Federal 
left, the Cemetery Ridge, on which Meade s army was aligned — 
a Gibraltar to the Union General once possessed — a key position, 
unlocking his strength, if once in Confederate hands. About a 
quarter of a mile further on south, rises the still bolder knob 
known as " Round Lop." Between Little Round Lop and Get- 
tysburg stretches the Cemetery Ridge due north in a straight 
line for two miles. Just in the rear and south of the town this 
ridge curves like a fish-hook and projects into Cemetery Hill, 
which derives its name from the town grave yard thereon, 
wherein — 

" The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." 

Then the ridge bends around eastward, and a rugged, wooded 


height, with rocky face, known as Culp's Hill, guards the eastern 

This hill commands Cemetery Hill from the northeast, as 
Little Round Top commands the ridge from the southwest. 

The left wing of our army, looking due south, faced Culp's and 
Cemetery Hills. The centre and right wings, almost at right 
angles with the left wing, looked eastward, facing the Cemetery 

General Lee's plan was for Ewell to attack Cemetery Hill "by 
way of diversion" "at dawn," to be converted into a real attack, 
if opportunity offered, while Longstreet was to make the main 
attack on the enemy's right, seize Round Top and Little Round 
Top, and turn the Federal flank. 



Before dawn, while marshaling his troops for the assault, 
Ewell received orders from General Lee to wait for the sound of 
Longstreet's guns.* But the dawn came, and no guns heralded 
the action. Said Mr. Edward Everett, in his oration at Gettys- 
burg : " And here I cannot but remark on the Providential inaction 
of the Rebel army. Had the contest been renewed by it at day- 
light on the 2d of July, with the First and Eleventh corps ex- 
hausted by the battle and retreat, the Third and Twelfth weary 
from their forced march, and the Second, Fifth and Sixth not yet 
arrived, nothing but a miracle could have saved the army from a 
great disaster. Instead of this, the day dawned, the sun rose, 
the cool hours of the morning passed, and a considerable part of 
the afternoon wore away, without the slightest aggressive move- 
ment on the part of the enemy. Thus time was given for half 
of our forces to arrive and take their places in the lines, while 
the rest of the army enjoyed a much-needed half day's repose. "f 

I have searched in vain all accessible sources of information 
for some explanation of General Lee's failure to carry out the 
plan resolved upon the night before — a plan eminently sagacious 
in itself, and which, had it been pursued prompt!}- at dawn, would 
doubtless have resulted in the disastrous overthrow of the Fede- 
ral army, so graphically indicated by Mr. Everett; for Little 
Round Top, which, passing strange to say had not hern occu- 
pied by the enemy, would have fallen into our hands, and the 
key of victory gained without a struggle; nor was it occupied 
till later in the day, when our troops were moving upon it.^ 

*s •(■ (Jnirral Kivi'll's report. tSci' volume IV, Everett's Orations, pajri' 

t See volume I, Conduct of the War, pujro ". '.'.'. 


The secret of that fatal delay, which to my mind was the great 
mistake or misfortune of the campaign, may perhaps be forever 
buried in our Commander's bosom. I apprehend that the tardi- 
ness of General Longstreet's movements, and the prolonged 
absence of Pickett's division, was the cause; but lest injustice be 
done to General Longstreet, I forbear expressing an opinion. 
At any rate, the fault was not Lee's, for he was anxious to attack 
at dawn. He sent back orders to hasten the march of the absent 
troops (see his report), and some overruling reason must have 
stayed his hand. But, alas! the opportunity was lost forever. 
"Opportunity," saith the old adage, "has hair in front, behind 
she is bald; catch her by the forelock and a little child can hold 
her, but once gone, Jupiter himself cannot catch her again." And 
such was our experience at Gettysburg. 


Finally, by three o'clock the preparations were made. The 
Union army had been formed with Slocum's Twelfth corps and 
Wadsworth's division of the First holding Culp's Hill and the 
right flank — opposite to Johnson's division. Howard's Eleventh 
corps, with Robinson's and Doubleday's divisions of the First, 
held Cemetery Hill — opposite to Early's and Rodes' divisions. 
Then came Hancock's Second corps, opposite to Hill's, on Cem- 
etery Ridge, and Sickles' Third corps extending towards Round 
Top, opposite to Longstreet. Sykes' Fifth corps was in reserve 
on the Federal right, and Sedgwick, who reached the field just 
as the battle was commencing, took place in reserve upon the 

I should have little pleasure, even did time permit, in detailing 
the events of this day; for, though it abounds in bright exploits, 
the attack was rendered disjointed and ineffectual by strange 
misunderstandings — to use no harsher term. 

Longstreet, with Hood's and McLaws' divisions, struck the 
Federal left and came within an ace of possessing Little Round 
Top, which was hastily occupied by the enemy after our lines 
were put in motion. As soon as this attack on the Federal right 
got well under way, Johnson's division, with magnificent valor, 
rushed up the rough, rocky ledges of Culp's Hill; and Hoke's 
and Hays' brigades of Early's division, who took their signal of 
assault from Johnson's guns, charged the enemy's batteries on 
Cemetery Hill, and planted their standards on its summit, cap- 
turing his cannon, routing two lines of infantry, and cutting the 
right centre of the Federal line.* 

* Hoke's brigade was commanded in this battle (General Hoke being absent, wounded) by 
Colonel ,1. E. Avery, of the Sixth North Carolina regiment— one of the bravest and best of." 
the many excellent soldiers that North Carolina gave to the Confederate cause. 


But here Wo, the while ! this splendid sally was robbed of its 
fruits. Early was to attack when he heard Johnson's guns; 
Rodes, on Early's right, was to continue it when he heard Early's 
guns. Early's part was nobly done, and Rodes started to fulfill 
his part. But Rodes, it seems, had a much greater distance to 
traverse than Early, and for some reason, nowhere explained in 
Lee's or Ewell's reports (General Rodes' report I have been 
unable to see), at the time when the men of Hoke's and Hays' 
brigades surmounted the Federal works, the gallant Rodes was 
just moving out to assault those in his front. Before he did so 
the Federal reserves were hurled upon Early, and these two thin 
brigades, wasted by the charge and separated from all support, 
were driven from the crest by fresh troops, and the prize fell from 
the victorious hands which had already grasped it. 

The shades of night had fallen before the battle closed, and,, 
though everywhere the troops had borne themselves in a manner 
worthy of their fame, the unhappy miscarriage of Rodes' move- 
ment had prevented the consummation of Lee's well-designed 

But some advantages had been gained and some trophies won. 
On our right the Federal line had been driven back by Long- 
street, some guns and standards captured, and some advanced 
positions carried. On our left Johnson's division had driven the 
enemv from his works, and had maintained an advanced footing; 
on Culp's Hill. In Early's front the soldiers of the old North 
State, led by Colonel Avery — who there sealed his devotion to 
the Southern cause with his heart's blood — had won another 
wreath for the brow of Carolina; and the gallant Louisianians,, 
led by Harry Hays, had brought down from the crest of Ceme- 
tery Hill four regimental standards, seized from the cannon's 
mouth, and after a fierce hand-to-hand wrestle with the infantry 
which defended them. 


Brave spirits of Louisiana! Now deeper in misfortune; hence 
to our hearts closer and to memory dearer. Leading one of 
the regiments that climbed the summit of that terrible crest was 
Davidson B. Perm, a native of Virginia, and now, by the voice of 
his people, the rightful Lieutenant-Governor of the Pelican State. 
Take heart, brave leader and brave people! To-night your old 
comrades of the Army of Northern Virginia send you fraternal 
greetings. No longer separated from each other by a line of fire, 
the hearts of the liberty-loving people of this great nation, 
whether they once beat under the Confederate gray or the Union 


blue, now beat in sympathy with your brave endeavor to restore 
Louisiana to the sisterhood of States, with a government worthy 
of the republican name and of the Caucasian race. 

The gallant souls who met you in the shock of battle know, 
as well as we who cheered you on, that the stout arms which 
drove the bayonets though the Federal lines on that "well- 
foughten field" were filled with blood that can never flow in the 
feeble pulses of sycophants and slaves. Side by side the boys in 
blue and the boys in gray are coming to your rescue. Over the 
tumults of the polls we hear the pibroch ringing; and in 1876, 
when the guns are heralding the hundredth anniversary of free- 
dom's birth, God grant that they may sound to Louisiana the 
dawn of its resurrection! 


There was this significant feature in the second day's fight: 
The Confederate troops had everywhere borne themselves with 
unsurpassed audacity and intrepidity, carrying the most difficult 
positions by storm; and they could well say to their countrymen, 
with the Athenian general, that " so far as their fate depended on 
them they were immortal." 

They had failed, but from mistakes and misunderstandings of 
their superiors. This fact only increased General Lee's un- 
bounded faith in his men, and he resolved to advance again. 
"The result of this day's operations," says he, "induced the belief 
that with proper concert of action, and with the increased support 
that the positions gained on the right would enable the artillery 
to render the assaulting columns, we should ultimately succeed, 
and it was accordingly determined to renew the attack."* The 
general plan was unchanged: Longstreet was to assail the left- 
centre, and Ewell the extreme right. 

Early in the day, Johnson's division, on our left, had a pro- 
longed struggle, and drove the enemy from a part of his entrench- 
ments, but was unable to carry the main works on the crest of 
Culp's Hill. It was designed that Longstreet should attack 
simultaneously with him; but the dispositions were, for some 
reason, so slow that Johnson had concluded his drawn combat 
before Longstreet was ready to begin. It was arranged now that 
Hood's and McLaws' divisions should guard our right flank; 
then, Pickett — strengthened on his left by Heth's division, under 
Pettigrew, and Lane's and Scales' brigades of Pender's division, 
under Trimble, and on his right by Wilcox's brigade of Ander- 
son's division — was to constitute the assaulting column. At 

'See Lee's second report. 


seven o'clock that morning the fresh division of Pickett, which 
had rested the night before a few miles from the field, marched 
to the position from which it was to be launched upon the enemy's 
works, and formed in line just behind Seminary Ridge, protected 
from view by the swell of ground and the foliage of the oak 
forest that grows along its crest. From the summit of this 
ridge the long grim line of Cemetery Ridge, just opposite, loomed 
up in clear profile against the summer sky, bristling with the 
artillery and infantry lines of the foe ; and all during the hot 
hours of morning and noon the men picked for the assault con- 
templated the frowning heights against which they were to be 
hurled. Green fields decked forth in all the rich garniture of 
fertile summer-time, here and there separated by stone walls and 
fences, filled the intervening space — a slope down, then a valley, 
and then a slope again right up to the batteries and lines charged 
with death in every form that lead and iron and steel could be 
wrought by the destructiue genius of man. 


Upon the crest of Seminary Ridge, General Lee had planted 
about one hundred and twenty guns, covering the front 0/ his 
storming column.* Right opposite, about ninety guns faced 
them, and on either flank from Cemetery Hill and Round Top 
other battaries, comprising two hundred more guns, were ranged 
to join in chorus. To prepare the way, our batteries were first 
to cannonade the enemy's lines, and as they closed the infantry 
were to move out and pierce with their bayonets the Federal left- 
centre. At one o'clock a single gun broke the Sabbath-like still- 
ness that had brooded for hours over the field, then another single 
gun — the preconcerted signal — and then all Seminary Ridge 
burst forth with flames, as over one hundred guns poured forth 
their iron charges upon the Federal lines. Gun answered gun, 
and then for two hours the two armies were wrapt in the smoke 
of the most tremendous connonade that ever in the open field 
darkened the sky of the Western world; shells screamed, rush- 
ing through the air like devils on wing of fire; through murky, 
sulphurous clouds the sun glared " with blood-shot eye"; the 
earth itself was tremulous, as if internal commotion shook its 
foundations; and so rapid were the discharges of cannon, that 
the sound of no particular gun could be distinguished — no more 
than the roar of a single wave when an<jrv ocean tosses its bil- 

*Ueneral Meade e ;limatcs our guns th r, n engaged atone hundred and fw ■nty-fivc. See 
volume I, ('{induct of the Witr, pag's :'.:'.:!-::;i^. Mr. Nwinton places them at on" hundred and 
fifty-rive. I have no accurate information, but think one hundred and twenty about right. 


lows mountain-high in midwinter storm. Nor was this, as is: 
generally the case with artillery duels, mere " sound and fury, 
signifying nothing." Our infantry were for the most part sheltered, 
but on the Federal side, says the historian of Gettysburg, "not- 
withstanding every precaution was taken to shelter the Union 
troops, the destruction was terrible. Men were torn limb from 
limb and blown to atoms by the villainous shells; horses were 
disembowelled and thrown prostrate to writhe in death agonies; 
caisons filled with ammunition were exploded; cannon rent; and 
steel-banded gun-carriages knocked into shapeless masses."* 


At the end of two hours the fire slackened — then closed like 
some grand orchestral chorus announcing the curtain's rise as 
tragedy itself steps forth upon the stage. As silence once more 
reigned over the smoking heights, from behind the sable curtain 
that still hung over Seminary Ridge, there emerged the long 
double lines of the Confederate infantry, in none of the "pomp 
and circumstance of war," but clad in sombre homespun, brown 
and gray, with nothing bright about them save the blood-red battle 
flags twinkling in their midst and the glittering sheen of cold steel. 
Old Virginia had the post of honor that day. In the centre of the 
assaulting line moved Pickett's men, "in battle's magnificently 
stern array" — Kemper on the right, connecting with Wilcox; 
Garnett on the left, connecting with Pettigrew; Armistead be- 
hind them — Virginians all. Down the slope from Seminary 
Ridge they moved forth to the assault, not impetuously, says 
Mr. Swinton, "at the run or double-quick, as has been repre- 
sented in the over-colored descriptions in which the famous 
charge has been so often painted, but with a disciplined steadi- 
ness — a quality noticed by all who saw this advance as its charac- 
teristic feature."f Mounted on his familiar iron-gray, war-horse 
Traveler, General Lee, from the summit of Seminary Ridge, 
watched his veterans as they advanced to this supreme endeavor, 
as did Napoleon, from the slope of La Belle Alliance, watch the 
advance of the Old Guard upon the allied centre at Waterloo. 
Scarcely had they debouched into the field, before once more 
Cemetery Ridge, in their front, was fringed with fire, and into 
their faces came the hissing shot and shell. And, unfortunately 
for us, our ozvu batteries, having nearly exhausted their ammunition, 
(a fact unknown to General Lee when the assault commenced), 
were unable to reply % 

* See Bates' History of the Battle of Gettysburg, page 154. 

t See Swinton's Decisive Battles, page 343. 

i See Lee's second report. Whose fault was this ? 


Our left, under the noble Trimble, who was soon struck down,, 
staggered at the start, but soon regained their step; and while 
shell burst overhead, and solid shot opened frightful gaps, the 
lines closed up and moved on. Half way over this death- 
devoured field Pickett's men paused and rearranged their lines, 
and then moved obliquely to the left, so as to strike "the highest 
point and apparent centre of the enemy "* Now, it happened 
that Wilcox did not close on to Pickett's right, thus leaving a. 
gap open upon his flank; and now, at close range, the enemy 
from his shotted guns poured canister right into their bosoms; 
but still they pressed right on. And now from behind stone- 
walls and trenches on the top plateau of Cemetery Ridge, 
the fire of musketry flashed into their faces. Kemper and Gar- 
nett, while leading their men like the Paladins of old, had fallen; 
but the men faltered not, and with a bold forward rush they clove 
the Federal line. Brave Armistead, leading his men afoot, sprung 
upon the enemy's works, while all around him clustered the 
resolute soldiers of the Virginia Division, who had 

"Charged an Armv 
While all the world wondered." 

With calm countenance, but heart elate, General Lee, from his 
post, with his field-glass fixed upon this point, now saw the 
battle-flags waving over the smoke that wreathed the crest of 
Cemetery Ridge, like a cluster of blood-red mountain blossoms 
amidst thick foliage; and for the while Pickett's men stood con- 
querors on this blood-won summit, while all along their front 
the Federal troops, dismayed by their astonishing intrepidity, 
fled the field, leaving their batteries in the victors' hands. 
T But, alas! they stood alone. For at least twenty minutes (I 
am told by Captain John Holmes Smith, of the Lynchburg 
Home Guard, who, though wounded, climbed that perilous 
height), the few who got there held undisputed possession of 
the field. But where were their supports? Where were their 
coadjutors? Pettigrew's and Trimble's men had broken before 
the tornado of canister in their front, and had disappeared. f 
And now, upon their right, the gap left by Wilcox was being 
filled by Federal troops ; and marshaling in their front the Fed- 
eral reserves, summoned from every point to the rescue, stood in 
masses four lines deep. 

* Major Walter Harrison in his volume, entitled Pickett's Men, so states. Sec page Is",. 

t General Trimble lost a leg in this charge. There is no reproach for him. General lleth 
had been wounded in the first, day's light, and was absent, and his division, under Pettigrew, 
had been decimated in the first day's light. General Trimble had been placed In commana 
during the engagement. 


Anxiously they looked for support, but instead of succor their 
antagonists closed upon them front and flank, and this little 
wasted band could no more live, in the concentric lines of fire 
emptied on their devoted heads, than the child's play-boat could 
breast the surge of an ocean storm. 

Sword in hand, on the farthest verge of the advance, brave 
Armistead fell, death-stricken; and from this highest pinnacle 
to which ever the waves of the Confederate war dashed their bloody 
spray, the surviving handful of Pickett's men relaxed their hold, 
and sullenly turned their faces back to the Confederate lines and 
toward the setting sun. The sun, alas ! whose waning rays 
lighted for the last time to many a fallen heroe the scenes of 
earth — the sun, alas! whose waning rays seemed prophetic of 
the waning cause, dearer to them than light or life. And so 
Virginia's spear was broken — the banner of the Confederacy was 
blighted — the battle of Gettysburg was done ! 


I pause to contemplate the havoc wrought in these three days 
of battle We have authentic official reports that the loss on the 
Federal side amounted to two thousand eight hundred and 
thirty-four killed, thirteen thousand seven hundred and nine 
wounded, and six thousand six hundred and forty-three missing — 
in all, twenty-three thousand one hundred and eighty-six.* 

The author of " Harper's Pictorial History of the War" — 
which could be more fitly termed "Harper's Pictorial Fib" — 
estimates our loss at thirty-six thousand in all; and Mr. Bates, 
the historian of Gettysburg, estimates it at twenty-seven thou- 
sand five hundred wounded, five thousand five hundred killed, 
and thirteen thousand six hundred and twenty-one prisoners, 
which would make forty-six thousand six hundred and twenty- 
one f — a most preposterous conclusion, worthy only of Gulliver 
or Munchausen. 

I am enabled to state from the official reports the losses of two 
corps of our army. General Longstreet's losses were nine hun- 
dred and thirty-three killed, four thousand four hundred and 
fifty-three wounded, and two thousand three hundred and seventy- 
three missing — -total, seven thousand six hundred and fifty-nine.J 
General Ewell's were eight hundred and eighty-three killed, three 
thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven wounded, and one thou- 
sand three hundred and forty-seven missing — total, six thousand 
and ninety-four.§ Aggregate in the two corps, thirteen thousand 

* See General Meade's report. t See Bates' History, pages 199-200. 

iSee official report in Southern Magazine for April, 18T4 — Appendix— page 65. 
gSee General Ewell's report in Southern Magazine for June, 1873, page 695. 


seven hundred and fifty-three. It is not probable that Hill's 
losses exceeded Longstreet's, as he suffered less than any corps 
commander on the second day Putting them at eight thousand, 
we would have as a grand aggregate twenty-one thousand seven 
hundred and fifty-three — this includes artillery and infantry — 
and allowing one thousand more, which must be excessive, for 
cavalry and for nurses who were left with the wounded, and still 
our losses would be less than those of the enemy. 

In Pickett's division the frightful loss attests its devoted cou- 
rage. It carried into action four thousand four hundred and 
eighty-five muskets, about four thousand seven hundred rank 
and file. Its loss was two thousand eight hundred and sixty- 
three. Two of its brigadiers (Armistead and .Garnett) were 
killed, and the third (Kemper) wounded, but, thank heaven, not 
lost. Of fifteen regimental commanders, seven were killed and 
eight wounded; and of its whole complement of field officers, 
only one, the gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph R. Cabell, 'who 
was afterwards killed at Drewry's farm, returned from the charge 


As to the numbers engaged the Federals have given us pretty 
thorough information as to their side. General Meade estimated 
his available force at ninety-five thousand men and about three 
hundred cannon.* Some of these guarded his trains, and many 
must have straggled. Discounting ten per cent, for these, he 
must have had, in his seven army corps, not less than eighty 
thousand men upon the field. 

The Federal estimates of our force are very extravagant, and 
some of them not a little curious. General Hooker says in his 
testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War: 
" With regard to the enemy's force I had reliable information. 
Two Union men had counted them as they passed through 
Hagerstown; and in order that there might be no mistake, they 
compared notes every night, and if their accounts dillered, they 
were satisfactorily adjusted by compromise. In round numbers, 
Lee had ninety-one thousand infantry and two hundred and 
eighty pieces of artillery Marching with that column were six 
thousand cavalry. "f He then estimates Stuart's cavalry at five 
thousand, and sums up his count of Lee s men as ninety thou- 
sand infantry, four thousand to five thousand artillery, and ten 
thousand cavalry — in all about one hundred and four thousand. 

The miraculous performance of these two reliable Union men 

*Seo General Meade's testimony, ttrst volume Conduct of the War, pages 337-S. 
t First volume Conduct of the War, page 173. 


can be well appreciated when it is remembered that all of Lee's 
army did not pass through Hagerstown — Early's command, for 
one, going through Sharpsburg — and this spectacle of a com- 
mander basing a calculation on such trivial statements can only 
excite ridicule. I am not able to state General Lee's force; but 
I can contribute a few items which may serve partially toward 
an estimate. I hold in my hand the original tri-monthly field 
return of Early's division, made and signed by myself as its 
Adjutant-General, on the 20th of June, two days before it crossed 
the Potomac. The total present for duty was five hundred and 
fourteen officers and five thousand one hundred and twenty-four 
enlisted men — aggregate, five thousand six hundred and thirty- 
eight. This division was fully an average one of the army 
Pickett's division, as stated by Major Walter Harrison, its Adju- 
tant-General, numbered on the field four thousand four hundred 
and eighty-one muskets — about four thousand seven hundred 
rank and file. But allowing six thousand as the general division 
strength, we would have fifty-four thousand men. The cavalry 
could not have exceeded seven thousand, nor the artillery three 
thousand, and allowing ten per cent, discount for straggling and 
train guards, about fifty-six thousand would represent our avail- 
able strength. This, I believe, runs over the mark, but it shows 
how groundless are the wild speculations of the writers who have 
put our numbers at such high figures. 

We have also some general data which show that the weight 
of numbers must have greatly preponderated on the Federal side. 
In a work entitled a " History of the Battle of Gettysburg," from 
the pen of Samuel P Bates, State historian of Pennsylvania, we 
have a tabular statement showing the regiments of both armies. 
From that it appears that there were one hundred and sixty-four 
Confederate and two hundred and forty-one Federal regiments 
of infantry engaged — that is, seventy-seven regiments in excess 
of ours. Three hundred is a large average regiment, and allow- 
ing that as the general average, our force would be forty-nine 
thousand two hundred, and the Federal force seventy-two thou- 
sand three hundred — a result, I think, nearly approximating the 

* Mv. Bates states that Lee went into battle with seventy-two thousand men. See his 
History, page 198. This work, written in a fair and manly spirit, though not disguising strong 
Northern partialities, is marred by its evident worthlessness so far as computation of num- 
bers and losses are concerned. The aichives of Confederate history will ere long bring to 
light data from which the truth may be elucidated ; ami in the meantime it is to be hoped 
that Confederate soldiers who have means of information will carefully preserve and record 
their testimony on the subject. The probability is that there has been a double count of our 
losses in some casses — that is, that those reported by our officers as wounded, and afterwards 
falling into the enemy's hands on the retreat, have been also reported by the Federals as 
captured— and thus the wounded captive counted as two men lost ! In some such way alone 
can we account for the extravagant estimates of our losses, directly at war with our 
authentic official reports. 



The first impulse of General Meade, when he saw Pickett's 
men break and fall back, was to hurl forward his whole army in 
countercharge againt Lee. He has been severely criticised by 
many of his Generals for not doing so; but it is well for him that 
his "native hue of resolution" was so soon — 

"Sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought." 

The Federal army, as well as their commander, were appalled 
by the amazing boldness and bravery they had beheld. They 
were shocked and shattered by the terrific blow received. The 
arm that parried the stroke had been paralyzed by it. The victor 
stood aghast upon the field of carnage. The hand which wielded 
the scythe was too weak to strike back at the rival reaper, which 
had mowed down his own ranks like a desolating storm. 

In the history of battles we generally find that a repulse like 
this is followed by the dismay, confusion and flight of the de- 
feated army. But not thus passed away the glory of the Army of 
Northern Virginia, nor of that great Commander who, in the 
twinkling of an eye, saw the brimming cup of victory dashed 
from his lips. 

On our right Hood and McLaws, in the centre Anderson, and 
on the left the whole corps of Ewell, stood as steady and un- 
moved as if they had witnessed the mimic evolutions of a holi- 
day's review; and not only not dismayed, but "eager to welcome 
their antagonists "with bloody hands to hospitable graves." 

As the remnant of Pickett's men fell back within our lines 
General Lee rode to meet them. "Never mind," said he, as he 
urged them to reform, "we'll talk of this afterwards; now we 
want all good men to rally", and to General Wilcox, who rode 
up, he said, quietly and cheerfully: "Never mind, General, all 
this has been my fault, and you must help me out of it the best 
way you can." 

As the soldiers caught sight of their beloved Commander, 
whose serene, majestic countenance showed no trace of disap- 
pointment, the)' raised their hats and, cheering, turned to their 
posts; and many a ragged veteran, with one arm wounded, 
grasped his musket in the other and stood ready to do or die. 
In a short time our lines were rearranged, and so effectually and 
coolly that, as said by Colonel Frecmantle, a British officer, who 
was an eye-witness, "There was much less noise, fuss or confu- 
sion than at an ordinary field-day"* 

* S,'e Rev. John William Jones' Reminiscences of General Lee. 


During the whole of the next day the whole Army of North- 
ern Virginia stood in line of battle on Seminary Ridge, confront- 
ing in solid array the Army of the Potomac. It was rainy and 
chilly, and between the two hosts lay the thick-crowded victims 
of the battle, making the -field in verity a valley of the shadow 
of death. 

Then slowly our columns turned their faces toward Virginia, 
while, slowly and timidly following, the Army of the Potomac 
hung upon our rear, willing enough to wound but yet afraid to 
strike. The instructions of Meade to his subordinates were by 
no means to bring on a general engagement; and on the night 
of the 13th July we recrossed the swollen waters of the Poto- 
mac, and stood again, in thinned ranks but unbroken spirit, upon 
the soil of the Old Dominion. 


Thus, my comrades, I have told you in unvarnished language 
the story of Gettysburg. 

My chief object has been to state facts, which will stand as 
landmarks of Confederate history, rather than to attempt melli- 
fluous phrases which would roll away like rippling waters. And 
these — selected from a mass — are related only in the hope of 
stimulating farther researches and expositions, and not in the 
vain belief that they comprehend even half of these sad but 
brilliant annals. 

For many reasons it is important to you and to our people 
that the truth respecting this great action should be studiously 
explored and fully recounted. Fought at the farthermost North- 
ern point to which our armies penetrated at any time, it is pro- 
jected into a conspicuousness which belongs to no other field. 
Its result increased in the North the prominence imparted to it 
by its geographical location; and Northern painters, sculptors, 
essayists, orators and historians have exhausted the resources of 
art and language in picturing its actors and its scenes, and in 
celebrating the real and too frequently the fictitious exploits 
which the Union troops performed. 

Above all, it marked a decisive turn in the fortunes of war. 
It was, as Mr. Swinton styles it, " the high-water mark of the 
rebellion." It was, indeed, what the historian Hallam so finely 
says of the victory won by Charles Martel over the invading 
Saracens between Tours and Poictiers — "one of those few battles 
of which the contrary event would have essentially varied the 
drama of the world in all its subsequent scenes." For had the 
grand assault on Cemetery Ridge been compensated by results 


proportioned to the genius which directed and the courage which 
made it, Baltimore and Washington would have been its prizes, 
foreign recognition its reward, and the establishment of the Con- 
federate States as an independent nation its final fruitage. 

On the 4th day of July, 1863, while messengers were bearing 
back dispatches that carried unutterable grief to every Southern 
home, the telegraphic wires throughout the North were flashing 
with the news; bonfires and joyous bells were welcoming the 
tidings that Pemberton had stacked arms before Grant at Vicks- 
burg, and that Lee had been repulsed by Meade at Gettysburg. At 
once despondent hearts were elated; clamorous peace men were 
silenced; distracted councils were harmonized; a divided people 
were united. The rich, populous, world-assisted North stood in 
phalanx against the thin, impoverished and beleaguered people 
of the South. The policy of attrition was inaugurated, and 
henceforth the struggle — though radiant with all the virtues that 
heroism, skill and self-sacrifice could put forth — was only a con- 
test between the sands of the hour-glass and time. 

While these causes have conspired to direct the eyes of the 
world to the field of Gettysburg, they have made it to us a sore 
subject, reviving sorrow for "the unreturning brave" who fell 
there, increasing the poignancy of defeat by the contrast between 
the bright promise of the first day and the disastrous realizations 
of the third, and bringing to mind the sad refrain — 

" Of all sad words of tongue or pen, 
The saddest are these — it might have been." 

Therefore its glorious annals have been neglected on our side, 
criticisms and censures upon gallant and worthy officers have 
gone unchallenged; and as yet no hand has unrolled the graphic 
scroll that shall tell to time the deeds which are worthy of 
eternity Let no Confederate shrink before the name of Gettys- 
burg because it was dark with disaster and bitter with disappoint- 

It was the remark of Wellington that the saddest thing next 
to a defeat was victory. With us not less glorious than any 
victory was this defeat. 

The gallant Frenchman blushes for Sedan and Metz the blush 
of shame, but with us the cheek may well glow with honest 
pride as we recall the fact, that on the day of our misfortunes the 
flame of liberty was fed with the richest libation ever poured 
upon her altars, and glory opened to the Confederate brother- 
hood who gathered around them the doors of immortality. The 
open fields over which the unsheltered heroes moved tell, more 
eloquently than the emblazoned pages of history, the tale of 



their devotion, and the everlasting hills of Cemetery Ridge raise 
aloft to heaven the records of their everlasting fame. 

And now we may apply to them the words, of Pericles, pro- 
nounced in memory of the Athenians who fell in the Samian 
war: "They are become immortal, like the Gods, for the Gods 
themselves are not visible to us, but from the honors they receive 
and the happiness they enjoy, we conclude they are immortal; 
and such should those brave men be who die for their country." 


Nor let the Confederate shrink before that critic who, from 
the serene atmosphere of his sanctum, steps forth to pluck a 
laurel from the reputation of that great Commander who so 
boldly attempted what others would pale to think of. With the 
fall of Vicksburg imminent, General Lee felt that the hour de- 
manded this Herculean effort. With the spirit of a Caesar or 
a Napoleon, he bravely cast and bravely stood the hazard of the 
die. By the very audacity of his well- aimed stroke he deserved — 
by the steady heroism of Pickett's men he well-nigh won, and 
only by a series of those curious accidents which, in the game of 
war, confound the wisdom of the wise, did he loose — that crown- 
ing triumph which his supreme endeavor was so well devised to 

" It was all my fault," said he; but not such will be the verdict 
of the just historian, who with clear eye and steady hand shall 
trace, through the tumultuous and sanguinary incidents of the 
day, the course of him who, after exposing his person to all the 
dangers of the fray, would crucify, on self-erected cross, his own 
illustrious name, and make that reputation, more precious than 
life itself, vicarious sacrifice for his lieutenants and his men. 

And when the moralist shall seek the highest example of 
what is heroic and grand in action and martyr-like in spirit, that 
he may erect before humankind a model, that shall warm its 
finest fancies and excite its highest aspirations, he shall find it in 
the person of Robert E. Lee, upon the summit of Seminary 
Ridge, the mount of his transfiguration, where, sublimating all 
earthly instincts, the Divinity in his bosom shone translucent 
through the man, and his spirit rose up into the Godlike. 

And the day shall dawn when here in the Capitol Square we 
shall look again upon the warrior's form and face, moulded in 
perennial bronze — shall see once more our great Commander, 
mounted on Traveler, his battle steed, the seeming image of 
Majesty and Victory Here in the after-time, when w r e too shall 
be sleeping under the sod with our departed comrades, our sons 


and daughters shall look up to that commanding presence, re- 
joicing to remember that their fathers fought under him. And 
here the eye of the wayfarer, the patriot and the pilgrim shall 
grow brighter, as it contemplates with one glance three illustri- 
ous and congenial spirits, born to Virginia, given to humanity, 
world-renowned — George Washington, Stonewall Jackson, 
and Robert Edward Lee. 

" O, good gray heart, which all men knew ; 
O, voice from which their omens all men drew; 
O, iron nerve, to true occasion true ; 
O. fall'n at length, that tower of strength 
Which stood four-square to all the winds that blew. 

Not once or twice in our State's rough story* 
The path of duty was the way to glory. 
Let his great example stand 
Colossal — seen of every land, 
And keep the soldier flrm, the statesman pure, 
Till in all lands and thro' all human story 
The path of duty be the way to glory. 

And let the land whose hearths he saved from shame 

For many and many an age proclaim, 

At civic revel and pomp and game, 

And when the long-illumined cities flame, 

Their ever loyal iron leader's fame, 

With honor, honor, honor, honor to him — 

Eternal honor to his name." 


As it is the desire of the Association of Survivors of the Army 
of Northern Virginia to preserve the annual addresses delivered 
before it as historic memorials, I desire that my humble contri- 
bution to its archives shall not pass on to others any errors which 
could be avoided; and have therefore though proper to add a 
few explanatory notes, respecting statements made, which may 
lead to the clearing up of controvented points, and to the elucida- 
tion of truth. 

(1). In respect to the final charge at Gettysburg, I have said, 
on page 115, that our left under Trimble, "staggered at the start, 
but soon regained their step." In this I am now satisfied that I 
committed an error, and that instead of General Trimble's line 
wavering at the start, it was the line of General Pettigrew that 
did so. From General Trimble I have received a letter, in which 
he shows that the remark is erroneous, and I do not now doubt 
but that his line, which supported Pettigrew's, has been con- 

*The verbiage of this line has been slightly chunked, from the text of Tennyson's noble 
ode, to suit the occasion. 



founded with it — and hence the mistake made by others and 
followed by myself. 

(2). On page 115, I have said, " Pettigrew 's and Trimble's men 
had brokon before the tornado of canister in their front, and had 
disappeared!' For this observation what seemed ample authority 
was before me, for not only was it. sustained by the current his- 
tories, but it had been officially recorded in General Longstreet's 
report, wherein he says : " The enemy's batteries soon opened upon 
our lines with canister, and the left seemed to stagger under it, 
but the advance was resumed and with some degree of steadiness. 
Pickett's troops did not appear to be checked by the batteries, 
and only halted to deliver a fire when close under musket range. 
Major-General Anderson's division was ordered forward to support 
and assist the wavering columns of Pettigrew and Timblc. Pickett's 
troops, after delivering fire, advanced to the charge and entered 
the enemy's lines, capturing some of his batteries and gained 
his works. About the same moment the troops that had before 
hesitated, broke their ranks and fell back in great disorder, many 
more falling under the enemy's fire in retreating than whilst they 
were attacking. In a few moments the enemy, marching 

against both flanks and the front of Pickett's division, over- 
powered it and drove it back, capturing about half of those of 
it who were not killed or wounded." 

This official document I quote thus fully that it may be seen 
how well my statement seemed to be verified. But General 
Trimble shows, in the letter already referred to, that his men are 
not properly included amongst those who failed to give Pickett 
full support; and it affords me great pleasure here to rectify an 
error, which — while it could not shadow the reputation of that 
gallant veteran, known to be "without fear and without reproach" 
— has been too long received as historic, and does injustice to 
his command. General Trimble states that his men did not leave 
the field until ordered, and I take leave to quote a passage from 
his letter, that full justice may be done them. "My men," says 
he, "were the last to leave the field. This / know, as I rode in 
the line between the brigades from the start down to the Emmetts- 
burg road," &c. And after some details, he adds: "Thus I aver 
positively that my command continued the assault after Pickett's 
men had been repulsed and dispersed — not that we fought longer 
or better, but because as a second line, and having farther to 
advance, we did not reach the enemy quite as soon as the troops 
on our right, and I knew it would be fool-hardy to continue the 
combat with two brigades alone." 

(3.) On page 115, it is said: "Now it happened that Wilcox 
did not close in to Pickett's right, thus leaving a gap open on his 


flank." This has been the generally accepted version of the 
affair, and will be found stated in Mr. Swinton's work, entitled 
"Decisive Battles of the War," pages 344-347, in Mr. Bates' 
minute history of the battle, page 158, where it is said: "Wil- 
cox, instead of moving to the left with Pickett, kept straight on, 
leaving Pickett's right uncovered, and open to a flank attack"; 
and in many other works and sketches, which have fallen under 
my eye, purporting to be historical. And it consisted with the 
statement of General Longstreet's official report, that "the enemy, 
marching against both flanks and the front of Pickett's division, 
overpowered it." Of course, if the right flank had been protected, 
this could not have been done. But I have recently understood 
that General Wilcox does not concur in the above account, which 
I adopted upon the authorities referred to; and I regret that I 
have not been able to get, in time for this publication, his views in 
detail. No reflection was made or intended upon him ; and it 
is to be hoped that he and others who directed or saw the 
movements during this stage of the battle, will make clear what 
they really were. 

I conclude with the request that any one who may notice any 
error in my statements, will be kind enough to call my attention 
to it. 

J. W D.] 

After the address of Major Daniel, Lieutenant-Colonel Heros 
Von Borcke, late of General Stuart's staff, now of the Prussian 
army, and Major I. Scheibert, of the Royal Prussian Engineers, 
were elected members of the Association. 

Rev. J. William Jones was requested to prepare a roster of 
the Army of Northern Virginia. 

The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: 

President— General W H. F Lee. 

Vice-Prisidcnts — General Robert Ransom, General Harry Heth, 
General A. L. Long, General William Terry, Captain D. B. Mc- 

Treasurer — Major Robert Stiles. 

Secretaries — Sergeants George L. Christian and Leroy S. 

Executive Committee — General B. T. Johnson, Colonel Thomas 
IT. Carter, Major T. A. Brander, Major Walter K. Martin, Private 
Carlton McCarthy 



The Association and their invited guests then repaired to 
Monticello Hall, where a sumptuous banquet was spread, and 
most effective speeches were made by Ex-Governor John 
Letcher, Ex-Governor (General) William Smith, General W H. F 
Lee, General W H. Payne, General Fitz. Lee, Major Robert 
Stiles, General B. T. Johnson, Colonel H. E. Peyton, Dr. Thom, 
Captain Thomas Whitehead, Captain H. R. Garden, General J. 
A. Walker, General Early, Major J. W Daniel and others. 

The unveiling of the Jackson statue the day before had attracted 
a large crowd of old Confederates, and the public meeting and 
the banquet were, therefore, both splendid successes. 


On the evening of November 2d, 1876, the Hall of the House 
of Delegates, State Capitol at Richmond, was packed to its 
utmost capacity with a brilliant audiance. 

In the absence of the President, General Harry Heth, Vice- 
President, presided over the meeting. 

Rev Dr. J. William Jones opened the exercises with prayer. 

General Heth appropriately introduced as orator of the eve- 
ning Captain W Gordon McCabe, of Petersburg, who had served 
so gallantly as private in the Richmond Howitzers and Adjutant 
of the lamented Colonel Willie Pegram,the heroic "boy artillerist." 

Captain McCabe was received with deafening applause, and 
held his audiance spell bound to the close of his splendid 


Comrades of the Army of Northern Virginia — I am here in 
obedience to your orders and give you a soldier's greeting. 

It has fallen to me, at your behest, to attempt the story of a 
defence* more masterly in happy reaches of generalship than 
that of Sebastopol, and not less memorable than that of Zaragoza 
in a constancy which rose superior to accumulating disaster, and 
a stern valor ever reckoned highest by the enemy 

It is a great task, nor do I take shame to myself that I am not 
equal to it, for, speaking soberly, it is a story so fraught with 
true though mournful glory — a story so high and noble in its. 
persistent lesson of how great things may be wrested by human 
skill and valor from the malice of Fortune — that even a Thu- 
cydides or a Napier might suffer his nervous pencil to droop, 
lost, perchance, in wonder at the surprising issues which genius, 
with matchless spring, extorted time and again from cruel odds, 
or stirred too deeply for utterance by that which ever kindles 
the hearts of brave men — the spectacle of human endurance 
meeting with unshaken front the very stroke of I^ate. 

A.nd if intensity of sorrowful admiration might not unnatu- 
rally paralyze the hand of the historian, who should undertake 

•From a strictly military point of vir>w, the trrm "siege" cannot properly be applied to 
the operations around I'ct'rsburg, for tliere was Picking what, according to Vauban, "is the 
first requisite In a .siege— perfect investment." The same is true of Sebastopol. 


to transmit to posterity a truthful record of the unequal contest, 
what mortal among men could stand forth undismayed, when 
bidden to trace even the outlines of the story in presence of the 
survivors of that incomparable army, the followers of that match- 
less leader — veterans, to whom it has been given to see its every 
episode emblazoned in crimson letters by the very God of 

And yet it is because of this presence that I stand here not 
unwillingly to-night — for when I look down upon these bronzed 
and bearded faces, I cannot but remember that we have shared 
together the rough delights, the toils, the dangers of field of 
battle, and march and bivouac, and L-el sure of indulgence «in 
advance from those who are knit to even the humblest comrade 
by a companionship born of common devotion to that Cause 
which is yet "strong with the strength" of Truth, and "im- 
mortal with the immortality" of Right — born of such common 
devotion, nurtured in the fire of battle, strengthened and sancti- 
fied by a common reverence for the valiant souls who have fallen 
on sleep. 

It is not mine, comrades, to dazzle you with the tricks of 
rhetoric, nor charm your ear with smoothly flowing periods, but 
even were such master}' given to me, it would scarce befit my 
theme — for we have now to trace the history of the army to 
which we belonged, not in its full blaze of triumph, as when it 
wrote Richmond and Chancellorsville upon its standards, but in 
those last eventful davs when its strength was well-nigh " too 
slender to support the weight of victor}-"; we have now to mark 
the conduct of its leader, not as when, the favored child of Mars, 
the clangor of his trumpets from the heights of Fredericksburg 
haughtily challenged the admiration of astonished nations, but 
in that severer glory which shines round about him as he stands 
at bay, girt with a handful of devoted soldiery, staying the arm 
of -Fate with an incredible vigor of action and a consummate 
master}' of his art, and, still unsubdued in mind, delivers his 
last battle as fiercely as his first. 

And in the prosecution of the task confided to me — in 
my attempts to reconcile the conflicting testimony of eye-wit- 
nesses, in sifting hostile reports, and in testing by official data 
the statements of writers who have essayed the story of this 
final campaign — although at times it has seemed well-nigh a 
hopeless labor, and more than once recalled the scene in Sterne's 
inimitable masterpiece, in which Mr. Shandy, taking My Uncle 
Toby kindly by the hand, cries out, " Believe me, dear brother 
Toby, these military operations of yours are far above your 
strength," yet, remembering the spirited reply of My Uncle 


Toby, "What care I, brother, so it be for the good of the 
nation," — even so have I been upheld, reflecting that if it should 
be my good fortune to restore to its true light and bearing even 
one of the many actions of this vigorous campaign, which may 
have been heretofore misrepresented through ignorance or 
through passion, it would be counted as a service, however 
humble, to that army, whose just renown can never be too jeal- 
ously guarded by the men who were steadfast to their colors. 

That I should attempt a critical examination of that defence 
in detail, is manifestly impossible within the limits of an address, 
when it is remembered that, south of the Appomattox alone, 
thirteen pitched fights were delivered outside the works, beside 
numberless "affairs" on the part of the cavalry and small bodies 
of infantry, while each day was attended by a number of minor 
events, which, taken separately, appear to be of little historical 
importance, but, when combined, exerted no mean influence on 
the conduct of the campaign. 

Nor, on the other hand, has the time yet come, in the opinion 
of many officers of sound and' sober judgment, for that larger 
treatment of my theme which would necessitate an impartial 
examination of the measure to which the military operations 
were shaped by considerations of a political character — in other 
words, the time has not yet come when one may use the fearless 
frankness of Napier, who justly reckons it the crowning proof of 
the genius of Wellington, that while resisting with gigantic vigor 
the fierceness of the French, he had at the same time to "sustain 
the weakness of three inefficient cabinets." 

I propose, therefore, to notice some of the leading events of 
the campaign in its unity, which will indicate the general concep- 
tion of the defence of Petersburg, animated by no other feeling 
towards the many brave men and officers of the Army of the 
Potomac than one of hearty admiration for their courage and 
endurance, desirous, above all, that truth, so far as we can attain 
it now. shall be spoken with soldierly bluntness, and error be 
not perpetuated. 

And at the very outset, it is not only pertinent, but essential 
to a proper appreciation of the conduct of affairs, that we should 
consider the morale of the two armies as they prepared to move 
into those vast lines of circumvallation and contravallation, des- 
tined to become more famous than Torres Vedras or those drawn 
by the genius of Turenne in the great wars of the Palatinate. 
The more so, that the most distinguished of Lee's foreign critics 
has declared that from the moment Grant sat down before the 
lines of Richmond, the Commander of the Army of Northern 
Virginia saw that the inevitable blow "mi«ht be delaved, but 


could not be averted."* Other writers, with mawkish affectation 
of humanity, little allied to sound military judgment, have gone 
still further, and asserted that the struggle had assumed a phase 
so hopeless, that Lee should have used the vantage of his great 
position and stopped the further effusion of blood. Let us, the 
survivors of the Army of Northern Virginia, authoritatively de- 
clare in reply, that such was not the temper of our leader nor 
the temper of his men. 

It would, indeed, have been an amazing conclusion for either 
army or General to have reached as the lesson of the 


Grant had carried into the Wilderness a well-officered and' 
thoroughly-equipped army of one hundred and forty-one thou- 
sand men, to which Lee had opposed a bare fifty thousand. f 
Despite these 'odds, Lee had four times forced his antagonist to 
change that line of operations on which he emphatically declared 
he "proposed to fight it out if it took all summer." He had 
sent him reeling and dripping with blood from the jungles of the 
Wilderness, though foiled himself of decisive victory by a capri- 
cious fortune, which struck down his trusted lieutenant in the 
very act of dealing the blow, which his chief, in a true inspiration 
of genius, had swiftly determined to deliver; barring the way- 
again with fierce and wary caution, after a grim wrestle of twelve 
days and twelve nights, he had marked the glad alacrity with 
which the General, who but a few weeks before had interrupted' 
the prudent Meade with the remark, "Oh, I never manoeuvre," 
now turned his back on the blood-stained thickets of Spotsyl- 
vania, and by " manoeuvring towards his, left," J sought the pas- 
sage of the North Anna — seeking it only to find, after crossing- 
the right and left wings of his army, that his wary antagonist, 
who, unlike himself, did not disdain to manoeuvre, had, by a rare 
tactical movement, inserted a wedge of gray tipped with steel, 
riving his army in sunder, forcing him to recross the river, and 
for the third time abandon his line of attack. Then it was that 
the Federal commander, urged, mayhap, to the venture by the 
needs of a great political party, whose silent clamors for sub- 
stantial victory smote more sharply on his inner ear than did the 
piteous wail which rose from the countless Northern homes for 

* Colonel Chesney.— Essays in Military Biography, page 119. 

t Staunton's report, 1865-'66 ; General Early's able article in Southern Historical Papers*. 
volume II, July, 18T6; Lee's letter to General David Hunter, TJ. S. A.; Lee's letter (October, 
4th, 186T) to Colonel C A. White; Swinton, A. P., page 413. 

f'The 13th, 14th. 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th (of May) were consumed in manoeuvring and 
awaiting the arrival of reinforcements from Washington."— Grant's report of campaign. At. 
this time Lee had not been reinforced by a single man. 


the forty-five thousand brave men whose bodies lay putrefying 
in the tangled Golgotha from Rapidan to North Anna— urged 
by these clamors, or else goaded into unreasoning fury by the 
patient readiness of his adversary, ordered up sixteen thousand 
of Butler's men from south of the James, and at break of day 
on June the 3d assaulted Lee's entire front — resolute to burst 
through the slender, adamantine barrier, which alone stayed the 
mighty tide of conquest, that threatened to roll onward until it 
mingled with the waves of Western victory, which were even 
then roaring through the passes of Alatoona — resolute, yet, like 
Lord Angelo, "slipping grossly," through "heat of blood and 
lack of tempered judgment" — for the slender barrier yielded not, 
but when subsided the dreadful flood, which for a few brief mo- 
ments had foamed in crimson fury round the embattled slopes of 
Cold Harbor, there was left him but the wreck of a noble army, 
which in sullen despair refused longer to obey his orders.* 


Such was the retrospect of this thirty days' campaign to Lee, 
as he sat in his simple tent pitched upon the very ground, whence, 
but two years before, with positions reversed, he had driven 
McClellan in rout and disaster to the Tames; and though Lee, 

J 7 O ' 

the man, was modest, he was but mortal, and Lee, the soldier, 
could but be conscious of his own genius, and having proved the 
matchless temper of the blade, which Providence, or Destiny, or 
call it what you will, had placed within his hands, we may be 
sure that his heart was stirred with high hopes of his country's 
deliverance, and that through these hopes his pliant genius was 
inspired 40 discern in each new difficulty but fresh device. And 
his veterans of confirmed hardihood, watching the gracious 
serenity of that noble face, conscious of the same warlike virtues 
which made him dear to them, caught up and reflected this con- 
fidence, remembering that he had declared to them in general 
orders after Spotsylvania: "It is in your power, under God, to 
defeat the last effort of the enemy, establish the independence of 
your native land, and earn the lasting love and gratitude of your 
countrymen and the admiration of mankind."")" 

And to an army intelligent as it was resolute, there was surely 
much to confirm this confidence, outside enthusiastic trust in the 
resources of their leader. 

The sobering consciousness of instant peril had quickened 
their discernment, and the patient watchers in the swamps of 

•Switiicm, A. P., ]ia^i'4s7; Draprr, volume III, page uST. 
t Leu's (juihtuI orilur, iluv 10th, lbW. 


Chickahominy, no longer deluded by the ignis fatuus of foreign 
intervention, hopes of which had been kindled anew in the capi- 
tal by the fiery speech of Marquis of Clanricarde, regarded only, 
but with eager exultation, the signs in camp and country of the 
enemy. Air. Seward's thirty days' draft on victory, though given 
to a superb army for collection, and endorsed by the credulity 
of the nation, had gone to protest, and Mr. Lincoln now signified 
his intention of calling for five hundred thousand additional men 
to enforce its payment.* 

No censorship of the press could restrain the clamorous dis- 
content, which burst forth North and West, at this proposed call 
for half a million more men, and 


that unfailing barometer of the hopes and fears, the joy and de- 
spair, of a purely commercial people, indicated clearly enough 
the gloomy forebodings of the nation. Every tick of the second- 
hand on the dial registered an additional 335 to the national 
debt, or £2,100 per minute, $126,000 an hour, $3,024,000 a day. 
Ragged veterans, leaning on the blackened guns in the trenches, 
reading the newspapers just passed across the picket lines — men 
who had left their ledgers and knew the mysteries of money — 
marked, while their faces puckered with shrewd wrinkles of suc- 
cessful trade, the course of the precious mercury When Grant 
crossed the Rapidan, gold had gone down with a rush from 1.89 
to i.yo,\ and though, from the Wilderness on, Mr. Stanton — 
who was Napoleonic in his bulletins, if in nothing else — persist- 
ently chronicled success whenever battle was joined, gold rose 
with a like persistency after each announcement — a signal exam- 
ple of cynical unbelief in a truly good and great man. 

True, for a few days after Cold Harbor, the telegraph wires 
became mysteriously "out of working order," "owing," as he 
candidly confesses to General Dix in New York, "to violent 
storms on the Peninsula," but the dreadful story gradually leaked 
out, and gold gave a frantic bound to 2.03 to 2.30 — before the 
end of the month to 2.52 — while Congress in a flurry passed a 
silly "gold bill," and the New York Herald shrieked out curses 
against " Rebel sympathizers in Wall Street " — as if Wall Street 
ever sympathized with anything save the Almighty Dollar. 

Of the temper of the enemy, I myself do not presume to 
speak, but there are not lacking indications that General Grant's 

* This draft of five hundred thousand men was actually made under act of July 4th, 1864. 

t The quotations of gold in this address were tabulated from flies of the New York Herald 
for 1S64. 


theory of action, which he summed up in the phrase "to hammer 
continuously," had become somewhat modified by experience, 
and that, at this time, his new evangel of "attrition" found but 
few zealous disciples in the Army of the Potomac. Lee had lost 
in the campaign between fifteen thousand and sixteen thousand 
men* — veterans, whose lives, it is true, regarding them simply 
as soldiers, were precious beyond numerical reckoning. Of the 
Army of the Potomac, not counting the losses in the Tenth and 
Eighteenth corps, which had been called up to take part in the 
battle of Cold Harbor, more than sixty thousand men had been 
put hors tin combat, including three thousand officers — a loss 
greater by ten thousand than the total force which Lee had 
carried into the Wilderness. f "Had not success clscuhcre come 
to brighten the horizon," says the historian of that army, "it 
would have been difficult to have raised new forces to recruit the 
Army of the Potomac, which, shaken in its structure, its valor 
quenched in blood, and thousands of its ablest officers killed and 
wounded, was the Army of the Potomac no more." 

This apparent digression from my theme has seemed to me, 
comrades, not impertinent, because, as I have said, the temper 
of this army at that time has been misunderstood by some and 
misrepresented by others; because the truth in regard to the 
matter, will alone enable those who come after us to understand 
how such a handful, ill-appointed and ill-fed, maintained for so 
long a time against overwhelming odds the fiercest defence of 
modern times. Nay, more, I believe that when the truth shall be 
told touching this eventful campaign, it will be shown that at no 
time during the war had the valor of this army and the skill of 
its leader been so near to compelling an honorable peace as in 
the days immediately succeeding Cold Harbor. Such is the 
testimony of Federal officers high in rank, whose courage you 
admired in war and whose magnanimity you have appreciated in 
peace. Mr. Greeley, in his " History of the Rebellion," says 
emphatically, these were "the very darkest hours of our contest 
— those in which our loyal people most profoundly despaired of 
its successful issue. "J Swinton, a shrewd observer and candid 
historian, says: "So gloomy was the military outlook after the 
action on the Chickahominy, and to such a degree by consequence 

*On Jlay l-llst, Lee, according to the n'turns, had fortv-four thousand two hundred and 
forty-seven mt'ii. Allowing him tifty thousand men at the opening of the campaign, and 
nine thousand reinforcements at Hanover Courthouse, his loss would lie fourteen thousand 
s.'Ven hundred and lilt y-three. To this we must, add his loss at Hold Harbor, which was but 
a few hundreds. Swinton (page 4'.)4) says that, •'the Arvti/of the Putomae lost at least tirentii 
•mm to Liv'h one" in I hat battle, and puts (J rant's loss at thirteen thousand one hundred anil 

1 Swinton, page 491. 

J He embraces period from Cold Harbor to Crater, inclusive. 


had the moral spring of the public mind become relaxed, that 
there was at this time great danger of a collapse of the war." 
And he adds, significantly: "The archives of the State Depart- 
ment, when one day made public, will show how deeply the 
Government was affected by the want of military success, and to 
what resolutions the Executive had in consequence come!'* But, 
alas! the "success elsewhere," of which the historian speaks, had 
"come to brighten the horizon," and, continuing, quickened into 
vigorous action the vast resources of the North. 

Grant, reinforced by over thirty thousand men at Spotsylvania,f 
was heavily reinforced again; and putting aside with great firm- 
ness the well known wishes of the Federal Executive, prepared 
to change his strategy for the fifth time, and 


It was a determination based upon the soundest military prin- 
ciples, for from that direction could an assailant hope to bring to 
bear with greatest assurance of success that cardinal maxim of 
military strategy, " operate on the communications of the enemy 
without endangering your own." Though the plan was now 
for the first time to be put to the test, it was no new conception. 
McClellan had proposed it to Halleck,J when that General vis- 
ited the Army of the Potomac after what was euphemistically 
termed " its strategic change of base to the James," but the Chief 
of the Staff curtly rejected it as "impracticable." Lee, cautious 
of speech, had not hesitated to say to friends here in Richmond 
that the good people of the town might go to their beds without 
misgiving, so long as the enemy assailed the capital north and 
east, and left unvexed his communications with the Carolinas. 
General Grant himself, while still in the West, had urged upon 
the Government the adoption of this plan, which, in his eyes, 
was identical in its main features with that which had won for 
him the capitulation of Vicksburg. Why, when invested with 
supreme command, he should have rejected a plan which his 
judgment had approved but a year before, and adopted only after 
the loss of sixty thousand veteran troops a line of advance open 
to him at the outset without firing a gun — is one of the myste- 
ries of war, the key to which is most likely to be found in the 
political history of the time. 

* Swinton, page 495, note. 

t As the Secretary of War denies access to the archives at Washington, it is impossible to 
state the precise figures. Mr. Stanton, in his report, says: "Meanwhile, in order to repair 
the losses of the Army of the Potomac, the chief part of the force designed to guard the 
Middle Department (Baltimore) and the Department of Washington (in all forty-seven thou- 
sand seven hundred and fifty-one men) was called forward to the front." 

t Memorandum of Halleck,(July 2Tth, 1862), in Report on Conduct War, Part I, page 454. 


Resolved upon this last change of base, General Grant pressed 
its execution. From the 4th to the nth of June, by a gradual 
"withdrawal of his right flank, he had placed his army within 
easy marches of the lower crossings of the Chickahominy, and 
Sheridan, meanwhile, having been dispatched to destroy the 
Virginia Central railroad and effect a junction with Hunter, on 
Sunday night, June 12th, 



Warren, with the Fifth corps and Wilson's division of cavalry, 
seizing the crossing at Long bridge, made his dispositions to 
screen the movement. Hancock's corps, marching past the 
Fifth, was directed upon Wilcox's Landing; Wright's and Burn- 
side's corps upon Douthat's, while Smith, with four divisions of 
the Tenth and Eighteenth corps, moved rapidly to White House 
and embarked for Bermuda Hundred.* 

Early on the morning of the 13th, Warren, who executed his 
critical task with marked address, pushed forward Crawford's 
division on the New Market road, and compelling the few Con- 
federate squadrons of observation to retire across White Oak 
swamp, threatened direct advance on Richmond, while the activity 
of his powerful horse completely shrouded for the time the 
movement in his rear. 

Lee did not attack,! for Early had been detached for the de- 
fence of Lynchburg, and the main body of his cavalry being 
absent under Hampton, he was compelled, like the Great Frede- 
rick, when Traun's Pandours enveloped Silesia in midnight, "to 
read his position as if by flashes of lightning." On the next 
day, however, a small body of horse, under W H. F Lee, boldly 
charging the enemy, drove them hotly past Malvern Hill, and on 
the same evening Lee received accurate information as to the 
whereabouts of his adversary.;}; But not a man of the Army of 
the Potomac had as yet crossed, and the conjuncture being now 
so nice that the slightest blunder would have been attended with 
irreparable disaster, he drew back his troops towards Chaffm s, 
dispatched Hoke early on the 15th from Drcwry s Bluff to re- 
inforce Beauregard, and stood ready to repel direct advance by 
the river routes or to throw his army into Petersburg, as events 
miidit dictate." 

*swinton, A. P., page 4;>s. 

t Wilcox's division of Hill's corps ami Pejriam's artillery were sent down to develop the 
position of the enemy, and there was some sharp skirmishing on the 14th, hut. nothing In the 
nature of an attack. 

t Lee's dispatch, '.1 P. >!., June 14th, ism. 


Grant's design, as we now know, was to 


and it had certainly succeeded but for an incredible negligence 
on his own part. 

Smith's command reached Bermuda Hundred, where Grant 
was in person,* on the evening of the 14th, and being reinforced 
by Kautz's divison of cavalry and Hink's divison of negro in- 
fantry, was at once directed to cross the Appomattox at Point of 
Rocks, where pontoons had been laid, and to move rapidly on 
Petersburg. The passage of the river was effected during the 
same night, and early on the 15th Smith advanced in three col- 
umns — Kautz with his horsemen covering his left. Now, Han- 
cock's entire corps had been ferried to the south side on the 
night of Smith's arrival at Bermuda Hundred, and might easily 
have been pushed forward to take part in the assault, but, left in 
ignorance of the projected coup de main, its commander, in obe- 
.dience to orders, was awaiting rations where he had crossed. In- 
credible as it may seem, General Meade, the immediate com- 
mander of the Army of the Potomac, was left in like ignorance,! 
and General Grant, hurrying back to the north side to push for- 
ward reinforcements from the corps of Wright and Burnside, 
found that the army pontoon train had been sent to piece out the 
wagon train pontoons, which had proved insufficient for the pas- 
sage of the Chickahominy at Coles' ferry. Thus nearly a day 
was gained to the handful of brave men defending the lines of 
Petersburg, and lost to the Arm)' of the Potomac — a curious 
instance of the uncertain contingencies of war, reminding the 
military student, with a difference, of the happy chance which 
saved Zaragoza in the first siege, when Lefebre Desnouettes, 
" missing the road to the bridge, missed that to victory " 

Smith, pushing forward his columns towards Petersburg early 
on the morning of the 15th, had scarcely advanced a distance 
of two miles, when he encountered a hasty line of rifle trenches, 
held by Graham's light battery and a meagre force of dismounted 
cavalry — the whole under Dearing, a young brigadier of high 
and daring spirit and of much experience in war. This position, 
resolutely held for two hours, was finally carried by the infantry, 
yet Dearing, retiring slowly with unabashed front, hotly disputing 
every foot of the advance, so delayed the hostile columns that it 
was 1 1 o'clock A. M. before they came upon the heavy line of 
entrenchments covering the eastern approaches to the town. 

* Grant and His Campaigns, pags 348. t Swinton, pages 499 and 503-506. 



Shortly after that hour, Smith moved by the Baxter road upon 
the works in front of Batteries Six and Seven, but the men of Wise's 
brigade resisted his repeated assaults with "unsurpassed stub- 
bornness " — I use the exact language of Beauregard* — while the 
rapid fire of the light batteries completed for the time his dis- 

Smith had been told that the works defending Petersburg were 
such that "cavalry could ride over them" — "a representation," 
says Mr. Swinton archly, "not justified by his experience," and 
he now proceeded to reconnoitre more carefully what was in his 


consisted of a heavy line of redans connected by powerful rifle 
trenches, and were of such extent as to require a garrison of 
twenty-five thousand men. In the opinion of General Beaure- 
gard, this line was in many places faultily located, and especially 
vulnerable in the quarter of Batteries Five, Six and .Seven. 
Reckoning his heavy gunners and the local militia, Beauregard 
had for the defence of this extended line, on the morning of the 
15th, but two thousand two hundred men of all arms, while 
Smith confronted him with above twenty thousand troops. At 
7.30 P M. the enemy, warned by their heavy losses of the morn- 
ing against assaulting in column in face of artillery served with such 
rapidity and precision, advanced at a charging pace in line, and 
after a spirited contest carried with a rush the whole line of 
redans from five to nine inclusive. 

Scarcely had the assault ended, when Hancock came up with 
the Second corps, and though the ranking officer, with rare gene- 
rosity, which recalls the chivalric conduct of Sir James Outram 
to Havelock in front of Lucknow.f at once offered his troops to 
Smith, and stood ready to receive the orders of his subordinate. 


had he boldly advanced — and the moon shining brightly highly 
favored such enterprise — but Smith, it would seem, though pos- 
sessed of considerable professional skill, was not endowed with 
that intuitive sagacity which swiftly discerns the chances of the 

"For Mil' Confederate n|" rations from the lr.tti to the 1:1th June, inclusive, I am greatly in- 
debted in General lieaurcnard's MS. report, kindly placed at my disposal. 

tOul rani's divisional order on night of September 16th, 1*57.— Brock's Life of Havelock, 
pnjje '21:'.. 



moment, and thus halting on the very threshold of decisive vic- 
tory, contented himself with partial success, and having relieved 
his divisions in the captured works with Hancock's troops, 
waited for the morning. 

Meanwhile, Hoke had arrived on the Confederate side, and 
Beauregard, having disposed his meagre force upon a new line a 
short distance in rear of the lost redans, ordered down Bushrod 
Johnson's three brigades from the Bermuda Hundred front, and 
made such preparation as was possible for the assault of the 


The situation was indeed critical, for though the enemy 
assaulted but feebly the next morning, and Johnson's brigades 
arrived at 10 A. M., there was still such disparity of numbers as 
might well have shaken the resolution of a less determined com- 
mander. Burnside's corps reached the Federal front at noon, 
and General Meade, having met General Grant on the City Point 
road,* was directed to assume immediate command of the troops 
and assault as soon as practicable. Thus at 5.30 on the evening 
of the 1 6th, more than seventy thousand troops were launched 
against the works manned by but ten thousand brave men, a dis- 
parity still further increased by the arrival at dusk of Warren's 
corps, two brigades of which — Miles' and Griffin's — took part in 
the closing assaults. For three hours the fight raged furiously 
along the whole line with varying success, nor did the contest 
subside until after nine o'clock, when it was found that Birney, 
of Hancock's corps, had effected a serious lodgment, from which 
the Confederates in vain attempted to expel him during the 

On the same day Pickett's division, dispatched by Lee and 
leading the advance of Anderson's corps, recaptured the lines on 
the Bermuda Hundred front, which Beauregard had been forced 
to uncover, and which had been immediately seized by Butler's 
troops. It is surely sufficient answer to those who represent Lee 
as even then despondently forecasting the final issue, to find him 
writing next day in great good humor to Anderson : " I believe 
that the men of your corps will carry anything they are put 
against. We tried very hard to stop Pickett's men from captu- 
ring the breastworks of the enemy, but could not do iff 

* Grant and His Campaigns, page 349. 

t Lee's letter to- Anderson, Clay house, Juas 17th, 1864. 



Fortunately for the weary Confederates, the enemy attempted 
no offensive movement until early noon of the next day, at which 
hour the Ninth corps, advancing with spirit, carried a redoubt in 
its front, together with four pieces of artillery and several hun- 
dred prisoners, while Hancock's corps pressed back the Confede- 
rates over Hare's Hill — the spot afterwards known as Fort Stead- 
man, and made famous by Gordon's sudden and daring stroke. 
Later in the day the Ninth corps attacked again, but were driven 
back with severe loss. 

gracie's alabamians to the rescue. 

Then along the whole front occurred a series of assaults and 
counter charges creditable to the courage and enterprise of both 
sides, yet so confused that an attempted narrative would neces- 
sarily share that confusion. Suffice it to say that at dusk the 
Confederate lines were pierced, and, the troops crowding together 
in disorder, irreparable disaster seemed imminent, when suddenly 
in the dim twilight a dark column was descried mounting swiftly 
from the ravines in rear, and Gracie's gallant Alabamians, spring- 
ing along the crest with fierce cries, leaped over the works, cap- 
tured over fifteen hundred prisoners, and drove the enemy pell- 
mell from the disputed point.* Then the combat broke out 
afresh, for the enemy, with reason, felt that chance alone had 
foiled them of decisive success, and despite the darkness, the 
fight raged with unabated fury until past midnight. Meanwhile, 


bore herself with proud and lofty port, worthy her renown in 
other wars, and the fires of her ancient patriotism, quickened by 
the hot breath of peril, blazed forth with such surpassing bright- 
ness as pierced the darkness of that gloomy night; nor could 
"the driving storm of war," which beat so pitilessly upon this 
heroic city for well-nigh a twelvemonth, ever quench the blaze 
which, even to the end, shone as a flaming beacon to the people 
of the vexed Commonwealth and to anxious patriots, who from 
afar watched the issues of the unequal contest. Her men fitted 
to bear arms were yonder with Lee's veterans, and now her 

* "({nine's brigade was promptly thrown into the gap iu the lines, and drove liaek f lie 
Federals, capturing from fifteen hundred to two thousand prisoners."— Beauregard's MS. 
report, page 16. 


women, suddenly environed by all the dread realities of war, dis- 
covered a constancy and heroism befiting the wives and mothers 
of such valiant soldiers. Some, watching in the hospitals, cheered 
on the convalescents, who, when the sounds of battle grew nearer, 
rose like faithful soldiers to join their comrades; others, hurry- 
ing along the deserted streets, the silence of which was ever and 
anon sharply broken by screaming shell, streamed far out on the 
highways to meet the wounded and bear them to patriot homes. 
Nor shall we wonder at this devotion, for in the very beginning 
of those eventful days, these noble women, hanging for a few brief 
moments on the necks of gray-haired grandsires, or pressing the 
morther-kiss upon the brows of eager boys, had bidden them, 
•with eyes brimming with prayerful tears, to go and serve the 
State upon the outer works; and surely, when thus duty and 
honor had weighed down the scale of natural love, they had 
learned, with an agony which man can never measure, that life 
itself must be accounted as a worthless thing when the safety of 
a nation is at stake. 

That it is no fancy picture, comrades, which I have drawn for 
you, is attested by that battle-tablet in old Blandford church, 
which records the names of the gray-haired men who fell in 
defence of their native town; while, if you will pardon a personal 
allusion, it afterwards came to me, as a schoolmaster, to teach 
some of these veterans' lads, who every day came to class with 
empty sleeves pinned across their breasts. 


The battle, as we have seen, did not cease until half-past twelve 
on the night of the 1 7th, and the evacuation of the town seemed 
inevitable, when, by a happy accident, an officer of Burnside's 
staff, losing his way in the darkness, rode into the Confederate 
lines, bearing a dispatch from Burnside to Meade to the effect 
that the Ninth corps had been very roughly handled and should 
be promptly reinforced. This dispatch had been referred by 
Meade to Smith for his information^ with the request that he at 
once reinforce Burnside with such troops as could be spared. 
Scarcely had Beauregard finished reading the captured missive, 
when a courier galloped up with a message from Hoke, stating 
that he had easily replused Smith's assaults and could lend a 
helping hand elsewhere.* But before this, Beauregard, foresee- 
ing the rupture of his lines, as yet too extended for the strength 
■of his command, now materially weakened by recent casualties,! 

* This incident is vouched for by two of General Beauregard's staff-officers. 
t Beaur,e.gard's MS. report. 


had selected a new and shorter line in rear, and shortly after the 
combat ceased the troops were ordered to retire upon this new 
position — a delicate movement, considering the proximity of the 
enemy, yet executed rapidly and without confusion, for he had 
caused the line to be marked with white stakes, and required 
brigade and division staff officers to acquaint themselves with 
the positions to be occupied by their respective commands. 
This was the line held until the close of the defence. 


Grant had ordered Meade to assault along the whole front at 
daylight of the 1 8th, but when the Federal skirmishers moved 
forward at that hour, it was found that the line so stoutly de- 
fended the evening before had been abandoned by the Confede- 
rates. This necessitated fresh dispositions, and Meade, having 
reconnoitred his front, now determined upon assault in column 
against certain selected points instead of a general attack in line, 
as originally intended.* 

At Sy 2 A. M. Kershaw's division moved into position on right 
of the Confederate line, and at 9 o'clock 


It was noon before the enemy essayed any vigorous attack, but 
then began a series of swift and furious assaults, continuing at 
intervals far into the evening — from Martindale on the right, from 
Hancock and Burnside in the centre, from Warren on the left; 
but though their men advanced with spirit, cheering and at the 
run, and their officers displayed an astonishing hardihood, seve- 
ral of them rushing up to within thirty yards of the adverse 
works, bearing the colors, yet the huge columns, rent by the 
plunging fire of the light guns, and smitten with a tempest of 
bullets, recoiled in confusion, and finally fled, leaving their dead 
and dying on the field along the whole front. 

The men of Anderson's and Hill's corps were now pouring 
into the Confederate works, division after division, batter}' after 
battery, and when night fell, those two grim adversaries, the 
Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia, 
again confronted each other in array of battle, while General 
Grant had learned that Petersburg, as Napoleon said of Valencia,. 

* Grant and His Campaigns, page 352. Meade's report of campaign of 1864. 



In these four days of assault, from Wednesday to Saturday 
inclusive, the enemy confess to a loss of more than ten thousand 
men* — a fact which attests with appalling eloquence the vigor 
of the. defence. 

Sunday morning, June 19th, dawned with soft and dewy bright- 
ness, and the Sabbath's stillness remained unbroken, save when 
at distant intervals a single gun boomed out from the great 
salients, or the rattling fire of the pickets on the river front fretted 
for a few brief moments the peaceful air. But it was no day of 
rest to the contending armies, for the Confederates were actively 
strengthening their crude position, while the enemy plied pick, 
and spade, and axe with such silent vigor, that, this comparative 
quiet reigning for two successive days, there arose, as if by touch 
of a magician's wand, a vast cordon of redoubts of powerful pro- 
file, connected by heavy infantry parapets, stretching from the 
Appomattox to the extreme Federal left — a line of prodigious 
strength, and constructed with amazing skill, destined long to 
remain, to the military student at least, an enduring monument 
of the ability of the engineers of the Army of the Potomac. 

This done, .General Grant was now free to begin that series of 
attempts against Lee's communications, which, despite repeated 
disaster, he continued, with slight intermission, to the end. 


On Tuesday, the 21st, the Second and Sixth corps were put in 
motion to extend the Federal left — the Second, to take position 
west of the Jerusalem plank-road, its right connecting with War- 
ren's left, which rested at that point; the Sixth, to extend to the 
left of the Second, and, if possible, to effect a lodgment on the 
Weldon railroad. On the same day, Wilson, with about six 
thousand sabres, f consisting of his own and Kautz's divisions, 
was dispatched to destroy the Weldon road farther to the south, 
and thence, by a wide sweep to the west, to cut the Southside and 
Danville roads. The Second corps, now commanded by Birney — 
for Hancock's wound, received at Gettysburg, had broken out 
afresh — succeeded, after some sharp skirmishing with the Con- 
federate cavalry, in taking position to the left of Warren, and the 
Sixth corps, moving up the same evening, established itself on a 

* Swinton, A. P., page 514. 

t Coppee (Grant and His Campaign's, page 353) says " eight thousand men in all," but this 
seems, on investigation, an over-estimate. 


line in rear and parallel to the Second, its left slightly overlapp- 
ing that corps. But the next morning the Confederate horse 
showed such a bold front, though 'twas but a scratch force with 
cattle like "walking trestles," that General Grant determined to 
suspend the movements to the railroad, and Birney was ordered 
"to swing forward the left of the Second corps so as to envelop 
the right flank of the Confederates.* 


This change of orders led to delay, which Lee, consummate 
master of that art which teaches that " offensive movements are 
the foundation of a good defence," was swift to improve. Riding 
to his right, he sent for Mahone, who, as civil engineer, had sur- 
veyed the country and knew every inch of the ground hidden 
by the tangled chaparral. Few words were wasted. Mahone 
proposed that he be allowed to take three brigades of Anderson's 
old division and strike the enemy in flank. Lee assented. Pass- 
ing his men quickly along the ravine, which screened them from 
the enemy's pickets, Mahone gained a point which he rightly 
conjectured to be beyond the hostile flank. Here, in an open 
field fronting the "Johnson house," he formed line of battle — the 
brigades of Saunders and Wright in front, his own brigade, com- 
manded by Colonel Weisiger, supporting the right, while Mcin- 
tosh of the artillery was directed to move with two guns in the 
opening on the left. Birney, meanwhile, had nearly completed 
his movement, which was executed without reference to the Sixth 
corps, and left an ever-widening gap between the two lines, as, 
"pivoting on his right division, under Gibbon, he swung forward 
his left."")" Yet Mott's division had come into position on Gib- 
bon's left, and had commenced entrenching, and Barlow was 
moving up to the left of Mott, when suddenly and swiftly, with 
a wild yell which rang out shrill and fierce through the gloomy 
pines, Mahone'' s men burst upon the flank — a pealing volley, 
which roared along the whole front — a stream of wasting fire, 
under which the adverse left fell as one man — and the bronzed 
veterans swept forward, shriveling. up Barlow's division as light- 
ning shrivels the dead leaves of autumn ; then, cleaving a fiery 
path diagonally across the enemy 'si front, spreading dismay and 
destruction, rolled up Mott's division in its turn, and without 
check, the woods still reverberating with their fierce clamor, 
stormed and carried Gibbon s entrenchments and seized his 

When night came down the victors returned to the main lines, 

* Swinton, A. P., page 512. t lb. 


guarding seventeen hundred and forty-two prisoners, and bear- 
ing as trophies a vast quantity of small arms, four light guns, 
and eight standards.* 

In this brilliant feat of arms, co-operation, it would appear, was. 
expected from another quarter, but though, as Touchstone says, 
"there is much virtue in if," I am here to relate the actual events 
of the defence, rather than to speculate upon what might have 


On the same day, Wilson with his cavalry struck the Weldon 
railroad at Reams' station, destroyed the track for several miles, 
and then pushed westward toward the Southside road. Here, 
while tearing up the rails at " Blacks-and-Whites," having dis- 
patched Kautz, meanwhile, to destroy the junction of the South- 
side and Danville roads at Burkeville, he was sharply assailed by 
W H. F Lee, who had followed him with his division of cavalry, 
and who now wrested from him the road upon which the raiders 
were moving. Again and again did Wilson seek to wrest it 
back, but Lee could not be dislodged. The combat was renewed 
next day, lasting from midday till dark, but at daylight of the 
24th the Federal cavalry withdrew, leaving their killed and 
wounded on the field. f Wilson reached Meherrin station on the 
Danville road the same day, and Kautz having rejoined him, the 
two columns pushed on rapidly to Staunton River bridge. But 
the local militia, entrenched at that point, behaved with great 
firmness, and W H. F Lee boldly attacking, again drove the Fed- 
erals before him until dark. J Wilson now turned to regain the 
lines in front of Petersburg, but his officers and men were ma- 
rauding in a fashion which no prudent officer, on such service as 
his, should ever have allowed, while W H. F Lee hung upon 
his rear with an exasperating tenacity which brought delay and 
redoubled his difficulties. At every step, indeed, the peril thick- 
ened, for Hampton, who had crossed the James, now came to W 
H. F Lee's help with a small body of horse, and attacking the 
enemy on Tuesday evening (June 28th), at Sappony church, 
drove him until dark, harassed him the livelong night, turned 
his left in the morning, and sent him helter-skelter before his 

Wilson, fairly bewildered, sought to reach Reams' station, 

* Lee's official dispatch, June 22d, 1864. Swinton (page 512) says " two thousand Ave hun- 
dred prisoners and many standards." It appears on close investigation that General Lee, 
thr. ugh caution, very frequently understates, in first dispatches, the losses of the enemy. 

t Lee's official dispatch, June 25tn, 1864. 

t Lee's official dispatch, June 26th, 1864. 

§ Lee's official dispatch, June 29th, 1S64, 8 P. M. 


which he believed to be still in possession of the Federals — a 
determination destined to be attended with irreparable disaster to 
him, for General Lee had dispatched thither two brigades of 
infantry (Finnegan's and Saunders') under Mahone, and two light 
batteries (Brander's and "the Purcell"), under Pegram, followed 
by Fitz. Lee, who had just roughly handled Gregg at Nance's 
shop, and who now came down at a sharp trot to take part in 
the tumult. Wilson, reaching his objective, descried ominous 
clouds of dust rising on the roads by which he had hoped to win 
safety, but offering, in desperation, a seemingly bold front pre- 
pared for battle. 

Informed by a negro, whose knowledge of the country notably 
expanded at sight of a six-shooter, that there was a "blind-road" 
leading in rear of Wilson's left, Fitz. Lee at once pushed forward 
with his dusky guide, and having assured himself by personal 
reconnoissance of the truth of the information, quickly made his 
dispositions. Lomax's horsemen, dismounted, were formed 
across this road, with Wickham's mounted brigade in reserve, 
the latter being instructed to charge so soon as Lomax had 
shaken the enemy In a twinkling, as it seemed, the rattling fire 
of the carbines told that Lomax was hotly engaged, and on the 
instant the movement in front began — the infantry, under Mahone, 
advancing swiftly across the open field, pouring in a biting volley, 
Pegram firing rapidly for a few moments, then limbering up and 
going forward at a gallop to come into battery on a line with 
the infantry, while Fitz. Lee, the Federals rapidly giving ground 
before his dismounted troopers, called up his mounted squadrons 
and went in with his rough stroke at a thundering pace on the 
enemy's left and rear.* 

For a brief space the confused combat, ever receding, went 
on — fierce shouts of triumph mingling with the dismal cries of 
stricken men, ringing pistol shots, the clattering fire of cavalry 
carbines, the dull roar of the guns — then, on a sudden, the head- 
long pace of " Runaway Down." The woods were now all 
ablaze, for Wilson had fired his trains, and the infantry and 
artillery, pressing forward through the stifling heat and smoke, 
were greeted by a sight not soon to be forgotten — a score or 
two of Federal troopers, in gayly-trimmed jackets, lying dead 
upon their faces in the dusty road — pistols, carbines, sabres, 
scattered over the ground in wildest profusion — a long line of 
ambulances filled with wounded men, who gave vent to piteous 
moans — a confused mass of guns, caissons, supply and ordnance 
wagons, dead horses, stolen vehicles of all kinds, from the won- 

* Fitz. Leu's MS. report. Lee's official dispatch. 


derful "one-horse shay" to the old family carriage, all of them 
crammed with books, bacon, looking-glasses and ladies' wearing 
apparel of every description, from garments of mysterious pat- 
tern to dresses of the finest stuff — while cowering along the road- 
side were nearly a thousand fugitive negroes, the poor creatures 
almost pallid with fright, the pickaninnies roaring lustily, several 
of the women in the pangs of childbirth. Nor was this shame- 
ful pillage on the part of the men to be wondered at, for in the 
headquarter wagon of the Commanding-General was found much 
plunder — among other articles of stolen silver a communion ser- 
vice inscribed "Saint John's Church, Cumberland Parish, Lunen- 


captured within a few miles two more light guns, and ordered 
the Federal artillerymen to turn them upon their flying com- 
rades. Whether through pride in their well-known proficiency 
in this arm of the service, or because they were conscious of the 
exclusive, if not gratifying, attention of sundry lean-faced Con- 
federates of determined aspect, I do not know, but certain is it 
that the cannoniers soon warmed to their work, and the gunners, 
stepping quickly aside to avoid the smoke, marked the success- 
ful shots, and discovered their satisfaction by cries of approba- 
tion to their men.f 

Thus Wilson, who but eight days before had crossed this road 
in all the pomp of war, with gaily-flaunting pennons and bur- 
nished trappings flashing in the sun, while the earth trembled 
beneath the thunder of his trampling squadrons, now slunk 
across the Nottoway (" horses and men in a pitiable condition," 
says the Union historian), having abandoned to the Confederates 
his trains, a great quantity of valuable ordnance stores and small 
arms, the captured negroes, one thousand prisoners, besides his 
killed and wounded, and thirteen pieces of artillery.^ 

Yet General Grant, to use his own phrase, felt "compensated," 
and the Confederates, forbearing to inquire too curiously into 
his reasons, were not dissatisfied, for the damage to the roads 
was soon repaired, 

* A list of the stolen silver may be found in the Richmond Examiner, July 5th, 1864. In the 
same paper (June 27th) may be seen an official list, sent by General Lomax, of the silver 
found in Custer's headquarter wagon captured at Trevylian's. The silver was sent to W. 
H. McFarlaad, Esq., of Richmond, to be identified and reclaimed by its owners. 

tFitz. Lee's MS. report. Statement of Lieutenant Charles Minnigerode, A. D. C. 

t Lee's official dispatch, July 1st, 1S61. 



the latter openly alleging that Wilson had given a striking ex- 
ample of what is known in strategy as moving on parallel lines, 
for that, after eagerly tearing up the road, he had been no less 
eager in tearing dozen the road. 

I have dwelt thus at length, comrades, on these two attempts 
of General Grant to extend his left and cut Lee's communica- 
tions, because they were the first of a series of like enterprises, 
and illustrated fairly the repeated disaster which befell him in his 
efforts to reach the Confederate arteries of supply. 

Having made still another attempt on the 23d to extend the 
Sixth corps to the Weldon railroad, in which he suffered a loss 
of above five hundred prisoners, General Grant now sharply "re- 
fused" his left on the Jerusalem plank-road, yet abated no whit 
the marvelous energy which he had displayed since his partial 
investment of the town. Early was at this time menacing Wash- 
ington, uncovered by Hunter's extraordinary line of retreat, and 
thither, in obedience to urgent orders, Grant dispatched the Sixth 
corps. But, at the same time, he directed his engineers to ex- 
amine the whole front south of the James with a view to direct 
assault, and pushed forward vigorously to completion his works, 
which when heavily armed with artillery, would be capable of as- 
sured defence by a fraction of his preponderating force, leaving the 
bulk of his army available for active operations on the adverse 
flanks, or, should occasion offer, for such assault as he contem- 
plated. The latter stroke suited best the temper of the man, and 
the engineers reporting, after careful reconnoissance, the Bermuda 
Hundred front impracticable, but that held by Burnside's corps 
as favoring, under certain conditions, such enterprise, he deter- 
mined to assault from that quarter.* 


Burnside held an advanced position, carried in the assaults of 
the 17th and 1 8th of June by his own troops and Griffin's divi- 
sion of Warren's corps, and had succeeded in constructing a 
heavy line of rifle pits scarcely more than one hundred yards 
distant from what was then known as the Elliott Salient. f Im- 
mediately in rear of this advanced line the ground dipped sud- 
denly, and broadening out into a meadow of considerable ex- 

- Grant's letter to Meade.— Report on the Conduct of the War (1S65), volume I, page 42. 
t Burnside's report, August 13th, 1864.— Report on the Conduct of the War (1365), volume 
I, page 151. 


tent, afforded an admirable position for massing a large body of 
troops, while working parties would be effectually screened from 
the observation of the Confederates holding the crest beyond.* 
Now, it happened that the Second division of the Ninth corps 
guarded this portion of the Federal front, and as early as the 
24th! of June, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Pleasants, command- 
ing the First brigade of that division, a man of resolute energy 
and an accomplished mining engineer, proposed to his division 
commander that he be allowed to run a gallery from this hollow, 


Submitted to Burnside, the venture was approved, and at 12 
o'clock next day Pleasants began work, selecting for the service 
his own regiment, the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, most of whom 
were miners from the Schuylkill region. But though Burnside 
approved, the Commanding-General of the Army of the Potomac 
and the military engineers regarded the scheme from the first 
with ill-concealed derision. Meade and his Chief of Engineers,. 
Duane, declared that it was "all clap trap and nonsense" — that: 
the Confederates were certain to discover the enterprise — that 
working parties would be smothered for lack of air or crushed 
by the falling earth — finally, as an unanswerable argument, that 
a mine of such length had never been excavated in military ope- 
rations. " I found it impossible to get assistance from anybody," 
says Pleasants, with an indignation almost pathetic; "I had to 
do all the work myself." Day after day, night after night, toiling 
laboriously, he came out of the bowels of the earth only to find 
himself in the cold shade of official indifference; yet the un- 
daunted spirit of the man refused to yield his undertaking- 
Mining picks were denied him, but he straightened out his army 
picks and delved on; he could get no lumber for supports to his 
gallery, but he tore down an old bridge in rear of the lines and 
utilized that; barrows were wanting, in which to remove the 
earth taken from the mine, but he bound old cracker-boxes with 
hoops of iron wrenched from the pork-barrels and used them 
instead; above all, he needed an accurate instrument to make the 
necessary triangulations, and although there was a new one at 
army headquarters, he was forced to send to Washington for an 
old-fashioned theodolite, and make that answer his purpose. 

Despite all this and more, he persevered, working on until 

* lb., page 211. 

t Lieutenant-Colonel Pleasants' testimony. — lb., page 112. 



engaged in laying platforms for their guns, assured him that he 
was well under the doomed salient. 

By July 23d the mine was finished. It consisted of a main 
gallery five hundred and ten and eight-tenths feet in length, with 
lateral galleries right and left, measuring respectively thirty-eight 
and thirty-seven feet, and forming the segment of a circle con- 
cave to the Confederate lines.* From mysterious paragraphs in 
the Northern papers and from reports of deserters, though these 
last were vague and contradictory, Lee and Beauregard suspected 
that the enemy was mining in front of some one of the three 
salients on Beauregard's front, and the latter officer had, in con- 
sequence, directed counter mines to be sunk from all three, mean- 
while constructing gorge lines in rear, upon which the troops 
might retire in case of surprise or disaster. Batteries of eight 
and ten-inch and Coehorn mortars were also established to assure 
a cross and front fire on the threatened points. But the counter 
mining on part of the Confederates was after a time discontinued, 
owing to the lack of proper tools, the inexperience of the troops 
in such work, and the arduous nature of their service in the 
trenches. f 

The mine finished, official brows began to relax, and Pleasants 
asking for twelve thousand pounds of powder, got eight thou- 
sand and was thankful, together with eight thousand sand bags 
to be used in tamping. On the 27th July, the charge, consisting 
of three hundred and twenty kegs of powder, each containing 
twenty-five pounds, was placed in the mine, and before sunset of 
28th the tamping was finished and the mine ready to be sprung.^ 

General Grant, meanwhile, in his eagerness for the coveted 
prize so long denied him, resolved to tempt Fortune by a double 
throw, and not to stake his all upon the venture of a single cast. 
To this end, he dispatched, on the evening of the 26th, Han- 
cock's corps and two divisions of horse under Sheridan to the 
north side of the James, with instructions to the former to move 
up rapidly next day to Chaffm's and prevent reinforcements 
crossing from the south, while Sheridan, making a wide sweep to 
the right, was to attempt from the north a surprise of the thinly- 
garrisoned fortifications of Richmond. Meade was to spring the 
mine and assault from Burnside's front on the same day, General 
Grant stating in the telegraphic order, with 

* All of the foregoing statements regarding construction, <&c, of the mine are based on 
Lieutenant-Colonel Pleasants' oilirial report, August, ISM. 
7 Beauregard's MS. report of mine explosion 
} Pleasants' olllcial report. 



" Your two remaining corps, with the Eighteenth, make you 
relatively stronger against the enemy at Petersburg than we have 
been since the first day "* But the cautious Meade replied that 
he could not advise an assault in the absence of the Second 
corps, f while the rough treatment experienced by Sheridan indi- 
cated that the Confederate capital was secure against surprise. 

But although the movement north of the James was not, as 
commonly represented, a skillful feint which deceived Lee, but a 
real attempt to surprise Richmond,^ which he thwarted by con- 
centrating heavily on his left, yet to parry the stroke the Con- 
federate commander had been compelled so to denude the Peters- 
burg front that there was left for its defence but four brigades of 
Bushrod Johnson's division and the divisions of Hoke and Ma- 
hone, which together with the artillery made up a force of little 
over thirteen thousand effective men.§ 

The conjuncture was still bright with success to the Federals, 
and it being now decided to spring the mine before daylight of 
the 30th, Hancock's movement was treated as a feint, and that 
officer was directed on the night of the 29th to return with all 
secresy and dispatch to take part in the assault, while Sheridan 
was to pass in rear of the army, and with whole cavalry corps 
operate towards Petersburg from the south and west. || 

On the evening of the 29th, 


As soon as it was dusk, Burnside was to mass his troops in 
front of the point to be attacked, and form them in columns of 
assault, taking care to remove the abatis, so that the troops could 
debouche rapidly, and to have his pioneers equipped for opening 
passages for the artillery. He was to spring the mine at 3.30 
A. M., and, moving rapidly through the breach, seize the crest of 
Cemetery Hill, a ridge four hundred yards in rear of the Con- 
federate lines. 

* Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), volume I, page 45. 

t "I cannot advise an assault with the Second corps absent. * * * It is not the numbers 
of the enemy, which oppose our taking Petersburg; it is their artillery and their works, 
which can be held by reduced numbers against direct assault."— Meade's telegram to Grant, 
July 26th, 1864. 

t General Grant's testimony, " failing on the north bank of the river to surprise the enemy 
as we expected or hoped to do."— Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), volume I, page 

§ This estimate is based on the morning report of the Army of Northern Virginia, June 
30th, 1864. It is, perhaps, excessive by a few hundreds. General Grant's information as to 
the Confederate force at Petersburg was entirely accurate.— Report on the Conduct of the- 
War (1865), volume I,. page 170. 
Swinton, A. P., page 523. 


Ord was to mass the Eighteenth corps in rear of the Ninth, 
immediately follow Burnside and support him on the right. 

Warren was to reduce the number of men holding his front to 
the minimum, concentrate heavily on the right of his corps, and 
support Burnside on the left. Hancock was to mass the Second 
corps in rear of the trenches, at that time held by Ord, and be 
prepared to support the assault as events might dictate.* 

Engineer officers were detailed to accompany each corps, and 
the Chief Engineer was directed to park his pontoon train at a 
convenient point, ready to move at a moment's warning, for 
Meade, having assured himself that the Confederates had no 
second line on Cemetery Hill, as he had formerly supposed and 
as Duane had positively reported, | was now sanguine of success, 
and made these preparations to meet the contingency of the 
meagre Confederate force retiring beyond the Appomattox and 
burning the bridges; in which event, he proposed to push imme- 
diately across that river and Swift creek and open up communi- 
cation with Butler at Bermuda Hundred before Lee could send 
any reinforcements from his five divisions north of the James. J 

To cover the assault, the Chief of Artillery was to concentrate 
a heavy fire on the Confederate batteries commanding the 
salient and its approaches, and to this end eighty-one heavy 
guns and mortars and over eighty light guns were placed in bat- 
tery on that immediate front. § Burnside had urged that 


declaring that it was superior in morale to the white divisions of 
his corps, but in this he was overruled by Meade and Grant. || 
He therefore permitted the commanders of the white divisions 
to "draw straws" as to who should claim the perilous honor, 
and, Fortune favoring the Confederates, the exacting duty fell to 
General Ledlie, an officer unfitted by nature to conduct any 
enterprise requiring skill or courage. \ 

This settled, Burnside, in his turn, issued his orders of assault.** 
Ledlie was to push through the breach straight to Cemetery 

* Report on the Conduct of the War (1S65), volume I, page 'I'll. 
t II)., pages 43, 44. 

t Meade's testimony. — Tb., page 75. 

5 Statement of General Hunt. Chief of Artillery, Army of Potomac.— Report on the Con- 
duct of the War U s l'>5), volume I, page 1S4; of Colonel H. L. Abbot.— Hi., page l'.is. 

II For BurnsMe's proposal regarding the negro troops.— lb., pages 17, IS; overruled by 
Meade and Grant.— lb., page 145; cf. specially.— lb. page 223. 

* General Grant says: "The lot. happened to fall on what I thought was the worst com- 
mander In his corps."— lb., page 110. See further on. 

** lb., page 243. 


Wilcox was to follow, and, after passing the breach, deploy on 
the left of the leading division and seize the line of the Jerusa- 
lem plank-road. 

Potter was to pass to the right of Ledlie and protect his flank, 
while Ferrero's negro division, should Ledlie effect a lodgment on 
Cemetery Hill, was to push beyond that point and immediately 
assault the tozvn. 

Long before dawn of the 30th, the troops were in position, and 
at half-past three, punctually to the minute, the mine was fired. 


and the dark columns, standing in serried masses, awaited in 
dread suspense the signal — knowing that death awaited many 
on yonder crest, yet not animated by'the stern joy of coming 
fight, nor yet resolved that though death stalked forth with 
horrid mien from the dreadful breach, it should be but to greet 
Minute followed minute of anxious waiting — a trial to even 
the most determined veterans — and now 


yet the tender beauty of the dim tranquility remained unvexed 
of any sound of war, save one might hear a low hum amid the 
darkling swarm as grew the wonder at delay. Nor was the 
cause of hindrance easy to ascertain; for should it prove that 
the fuse was still alight, burning but slowly, to enter the mine 
was certain death. Thus time dragged slowly on, telegram upon 
telegram of inquiry meanwhile pouring in from Meade, who, 
unmindful of the dictum of Napoleon, that " in assaults a general 
should be with his troops," had fixed his headquarters full a mile 
away.* But these were all unheeded, for Burnside knew not 
what to answer. 

Then it was that two brave men, whose names should be men- 
tioned with respect wherever courage is honored, Lieutenant 
Jacob Douty and Sergeant Henry Rees, both of the Forty-eighth 
Pennsylvania, volunteered for the perilous service and entered 
the mine. Crawling on their hands and knees, groping in utter 
darkness, they found that the fuse had gone out about fifty feet 
from the mouth of the main gallery, relighted it and retired. 

"In eleven minutes now the mine will explode," Pleasants re- 
ports to Burnside at thirty-three minutes past four, and a small 

* Mearle's own statement.— Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), volume I, page 72. 
Cf. also General Warren's statement.— lb., page 169. 


group of officers of the Forty-eighth, standing upon the slope 
of the main parapets, anxiously await the result. 

"It lacks a minute yet," says Pleasants, looking at his watch. 

" Not a second," cried Douty,* 

"for there she g:jes." 

A slight tremor of the earth for a second, then the rocking as 
of an earthquake, and with a tremendous burst which rent the 
sleeping hills beyond, a vast column of earth and smoke shoots 
upward to a great height, its dark sides flashing out sparks of 
fire, hangs poised for a moment in mid-air, and then hurtling 
downward with a roaring sound showers of stones, broken tim- 
bers, and blackened human limbs, subsides — the gloomy pall of 
darkening smoke flushing to an angry crimson as it floats away 
to meet the morning sun. 


for now the site of the Elliott Salient is marked by a horrid 
chasm, one hundred and thirty-five feet in length, ninety-seven 
feet in breadth and thirty feet deep, and its brave garrison, all 
asleep, save the guards, when thus surprised by sudden death, 
lie buried beneath the jagged blocks of blackened clay — in all, 
two hundred and fifty-six officers and men of the Eighteenth and 
Twenty-second South Carolina — two officers and twenty men of 
Pegram's Petersburg battery f 

The dread upheaval has rent in twain Elliott's brigade, and 
the men to the right and left of the huge abyss recoil in terror 
and dismay. Nor shall we censure them, for so terrible was the 
explosion that even the assaulting column shrank back aghast, 
and nearly ten minutes elapsed ere it could be reformed. J 


bursts in red fury from the Federal front, and in an instant all 
the valley between the hostile lines lies shrouded in billowing 
smoke. Then Marshall, putting himself at the head of the 
stormers, sword in hand, bids his men to follow. 

But there comes no response befitting the stern grandeur of 
the scene — no trampling charge — no rolling drums of Austerlitz 
— no fierce shouts of warlike joy as burst from the men ot the 

* (leant and His Campaigns, page 309. 

t Beauregard's MS. report of mine explosion; Lieutenant-Colonel Loring'.s statemeut. 
t Statement of General (>. B. Wilcox, 1' s. A.— Report on tlie Conduct of the War ;IS65), 
volume I, page 79; Buruside's testimony.— lb., page 14T. 

I I 


"Light Division" when they mounted the breach of Badajos, or 
from Frazer's " Royals " as they crowned the crimson slopes of 
Saint Sebastian. 

No, none of this is here. But a straggling line of the men of 
the Second brigade, First division, uttering a mechanical cheer, 
slowly mounts the crest, passes unmolested across the inter- 
vening space,* and true to the instinct fostered by long service 
in the trenches, plunges into the Crater, courting the friendly 
shelter of its crumbling sides. 

Yonder lies Cemetery Hill in plain view, naked of men,| and, 
hard beyond, the brave old town, nestling whitely in its wealth 
of green. 

Silence still reigned along the Confederate lines, yet Ledlie's 
men did not advance, and now the supporting brigade of the 
same division running forward over the crest, and with an in- 
credible folly crowding in upon their comrades, already huddled 
together in the shelving pit, all regimental and company organi- 
zation was lost, and the men speedily passed from the control of 
their officers.^ 

If we except Elliott, who with the remnant of his brigade was 
occupying the ravine to the left and rear of the Crater, no officer 
of rank was present on the Confederate side to assume imme- 
diate direction of affairs, and a considerable time elapsed before 
Beauregard and Lee — both beyond the Appomattox — were in- 
formed by Colonel Paul, of Beauregard's staff, of the nature and 
locality of the disaster. 

But almost on the moment, 


a glorious young battalion commander, whose name will be for- 
ever associated with the artillery corps of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, galloped to the front, followed by two light batteries, 
and having disposed these pieces along the Plank road, and 
opened Flanner's light guns from the Gee house, passed to his 
left to speak a word of cheery commendation to Lampkin of his 
battalion, who was already annoying the swarming masses of the 
enemy with his Virginia battery of eight-inch mortars! Passing 
through the covered way, Haskell sought Elliott, and pointing 
out to him the defenceless position of the guns on the Plank 

* Grant, Meade, Potter, Duane and others testify to this effect.— lb. pages 36, ST, 110, 116. 

t Statement of Captain F. U. Farquhar, United States Engineers: "There was not a soul 
between the Crater and that position, and I believe that position was !he objective point of 
the assault."— lb. page 211 ; cf. testimony of other officers.— lb. 

t See testimony of General Grant.— lb., pa<re 110; Meade, page 36; Pleasants, page 116. 
As regards the men passing from control of their officers, see statement of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Loring.— lb., page 92; General Hartranft, page 190. 


road, urged him to make such dispositions as would afford them 
protection. Essaying this, Elliott sprang forward, followed by a 
mere handful of brave fellows, but almost on the instant fell 
stricken by a grievous hurt and was borne from his last field of 

The fire of the enemy's artillery was now very severe, owing 
to their superior weight of metal, and the guns on the Plank 
road, exposed in addition to the fire of sharpshooters, were suf- 
fering such loss that it was determined to retire all but six pieces, 
and, as the situation seemed rather hopeless, to call for volun- 
teers to man these. To Haskell's proud delight, every gun 
detachment volunteered to remain. 

Nor did the artillery to the right and left fail to bear them- 
selves with the resolution of men conscious that, for the time, 
the hope of the army was centred in their steadiness, and that 


for, let me repeat, Cemetery Hill was naked of men. The offi- 
cers of one battery, indeed, misbehaved, but these were promptly 
spurned aside, and the very spot of their defection made glorious 
by the heroic conduct of Hampton Gibbs, of the artillery, and 
Sam Preston, of Wise's brigade, both of whom fell desperately 
wounded — while spurring hard from the hospital, with the fever 
still upon him, came Hampden Chamberlayne, a young artillery 
officer of Hill's corps, who so handled these abandoned guns 
that from that day the battery bore his name, and he wore another 
bar upon his collar.* 

Frank Huger, who, like "Edward Freer of the Forty-third," 
had "seen more combats than he could count years," was, as 
always, to the fore, working as a simple cannonier at his heated 
Napoleons, cheering and encouraging his men by joyful voice 
and valiant example. 

Wright, of Halifax, opened too a withering fire from his light 
guns posted on a hill to the left, nor could he be silenced by the 
enemv s batteries, for his front was covered bv a heavv fringe of 
pines ;f and now the eight-inch mortars in rear of Wright, and 
Langhorne's ten-inch mortars, from the Baxter road, took part 
in the dreadful chorus. 

On the Federal side, Griffin of Potter's division, not waiting 
for Wilcox, pushed forward his brigade, and gained ground to 

" As regards the execution of Chamborlaync's trims, sit especially siafenient of Oeneral 
W ;inen. — Repot t on the Conduct of I lie War (Isilfc, volume I, patfc liiii; General Hunt, patres 
'.is. 1S4; limine, patre lull; anil others. For general elllciency of the artillery lire see Meade's 
report, Autrust itith, 1sri4.— IP., page :n ; Colonel l.oring's statement. — 10.. page 9!>; General 
Potter, page ITT. 

t Statement of General Potter.— 10. , page ST. Ci. statement of other Federal oltlcers.— lb. 


the north of the Crater, and Bliss' brigade of the same division, 
coming to his support, still further ground was gained in that 
direction.* But his leading regiments, deflected by the hostile 
fire, bore to their left, and mingling with Ledlie's men swarming 
along the sides of the great pit, added to the confusion. Wilcox 
now threw forward a portion of his division and succeeded in 
occupying about one hundred and fifty yards of the works south 
of the Crater, but estopped by the fire of Chamberlayne's guns, 
and, whenever occasion offered, by the fire of the infantry, his 
men on the exposed flank gave ground, and pushing the right 
regiments into the Crater, the confusion grew worse confounded. 
Some of the men, indeed, from fear of suffocation, had already 
emerged from the pit and spread themselves to the right and left, 
but this was a matter of danger and difficulty, for the ground was 
scored with covered-ways and traverses, honey-combed with 
bomb-proofs, and swept by the artillery. Others of them pressed 
forward and got into the ditch of the unfinished gorge lines, 
while not a few, creeping along the glacis of the exterior line, 
made their way over the parapet into the main trench. In all 
this, there was much hand-to-hand fighting, for many men be- 
longing to the dismembered brigade still found shelter behind 
the traverses and bomb-proofs, and did not easily yield. | 
Meanwhile, General Meade, 


to use his own phrase,^ sent telegram upon telegram to Burnside 
to know how fared the day, but received answer to none. At 
fifteen minutes to six, however, one hour after Ledlie's men had 
occupied the breach, an orderly delivered to him a note in pencil, 
written from the Crater by Colonel Loring, Inspector-General of 
the Ninth corps, and addressed to General Burnside. This was 
Meade's first information from the front and was little cheering, 
for Loring stated briefly that Ledlie's men were in confusion and 
would not go forward. § 

Ord was now directed to push forward the Eighteenth corps, 
and the following dispatch was sent to Burnside : 

* Bumside's official report, August 13th, 1864. Colonel Bliss, commanding First brigade, 
Second division, "remained behind with the only regiment of his brigade which did not go 
forward according to orders."— Opinion of the Court of Inquiry— Report on the Conduct of 
the War (1865), volume I, page 217. 

t For all statements in above paragraph, cf. Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), vol- 
ume I, pages 21, 92, 94, 96, 121, 157, 177, 201. 

t "I have been groping in the dark since the commencement of the attack."— Meade— lb., 
page 71. 

§ lb., page 53. 

address of captain w. gordon m cabe. i 57 

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, 
July 30th, 1864, 6 A. M. 

Major-General Burnside — Prisoners taken say that there is no 
line in their rear, and that their men were falling back when ours 
advanced; that none of their troops have returned from the 
James. Our chance is now. Push your men forward at all 
hazards, white and black, and don't lose time in making forma- 
tions, but rush for the crest. 

George G. Meade, 
Major- General Commanding. 

But Ord could not advance, for the narrow debouches were still 
choked up by the men of the Ninth corps and by the wounded 
borne from the front, and although Burnside promptly trans- 
mitted the order to his subordinates, the troops in rear moved 
with reluctant step, while no general of division was present with 
those in front to urge them forward.* 

Again did Meade telegraph to Burnside: "Every moment is 
most precious; the enemy are undoubtedly concentrating to meet 
you on the crest." But not until twenty minutes past seven did 
he receive a reply, and then briefly to the effect that Burnside 
"hoped to carry the crest, but it was hard work." 

Then Meade's patience seems fairly to have broken down. 
"What do you mean by hard work to take the crest?" he asks, 

" I understand not a man has advanced beyond the enemy's 
line which you occupied immediately after exploding the mine. 
Do you mean to say your officers and men will not obey your 
orders to advance? If not, what is the obstacle? I wish to 
know the truth, and desire an immediate answer. 

" George G. Meade, Major-General." 

To which Burnside, in hot wrath, straight-way replied : 

Headquarters Ninth Corps. 
7.35 A. M. 

General Meade — Your dispatch by Captain Jay received. The 
main body of General Potter's division is beyond the Crater. 

I do not mean to say that my officers and men will not obey 
my orders to advance. I mean to say that it is very hard to 
advance to the crest. I have never in any report said anything 

* See testimony of (ieneral Orel.— lb. pages 17'.!, 173; General (irant, page 111); cf. also, lb., 
pages 197, 210. For state (if Jeboiu-hcn, see Orel's olllelal report, August M, 1m14.— lb., page 101. 


different from what I conceived to be the truth. Were it not 
insubordinate, I would say that the latter remark of your note 
was unofncerlike and ungentlemanly. 

A. E. Burnside, Major-General. 

Griffin, it is true, in obedience to orders to advance straight for 
Cemetery Hill, had during this time attempted several charges 
from his position north of the Crater, but his men displayed 
little spirit, and, breaking speedily under the fire of the artillery 
sought their old shelter behind the traverses and covered ways.* 
The rest of Potter's division moved out but slowly, and it was 
fully eight o'clockf — more than three hours after the explosion — 
when Ferrero's negro division, the men beyond question inflamed 
with drink,! burst from the advanced lines, cheering vehemently, 
passed at a double-quick over the crest under a heavy fire, and 
rushing with scarce a check over the heads of the white troops 
in the Crater, spread to their right, capturing more than two 
hundred prisoners and one stand of colors. § At the same 
moment, Turner, of the Tenth corps, pushed forward a brigade 
over the Ninth corps parapets, seized the Confederate line still 
further to the north, and quickly disposed the remaining brigades, 
of his division to confirm his success. ]| 


and fortunate was it for maiden and matron of Petersburg, that 
even at this moment there was filing into the ravine between 
Cemetery Hill and the drunken battalions of Ferrero, a stern 
array of silent men, clad in faded gray, resolved with grim re- 
solve to avert from the mother town a fate as dreadful as that 
which marked the three days' sack of Badajos. 

Lee, informed of the disaster at 6.10 A. M.,Tf had bidden his 
aid, Colonel Charles Venable, to ride quickly to the right of the 
army and bring up two brigades of Anderson's old division, com- 
manded by Mahone, for time was too precious to observe military 
etiquette and send the orders through Hill. Shortly after, the 

* Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), volume I, pages 96, 228 (Meade's dispatch, 8 A. 
M. July 30th). 
t lb., pages 103, 195, 196. 

X There are many living officers and men, myself among the number, who will testify to 
§ lb., pages 96, 109. 
1! General Turner's statement.— lb., page 121. 

*y The hour is taken from the note-book of the staff-officer who delivered the message from 
Beauregard to Lee, and who noted the exact time at the moment. This note-book was kindly 
placed at my disposal. 


General-in-Chief reached the front in person, and all men took 
heart when they descried the grave and gracious face, and "Trav- 
eler" stepping proudly, as if conscious that he bore upon his 
back the weight of a nation. Beauregard was already at the 
Gee house, a commanding position five hundred yards in rear of 
the Crater, and Hill had galloped to the right to organize an 
attacking column,* and had ordered down Pegram, and even now 
the light batteries of Brander and Ellett were rattling through 
the town at a sharp trot, with cannoniers mounted, the sweet, 
serene face of their boy-colonel lit up with that glow which to 
his men meant hotly-impending fight. 

Venable had sped upon his mission, and found 

mahone's men already standing to their arms; 

but the Federals, from their lofty "look-outs," were busily inter- 
changing signals, and to uncover such a length of front without 
exciting observation, demanded the nicest precaution. Yet was 
this difficulty overcome by a simple device, for the men being 
ordered to drop back one by one, as if going for water, obeyed 
with such intelligence that Warren continued to report to Meade 
that not a man had left his front, f 

Then forming in the ravine in rear, the men of the Virginia 
and Georgia brigades came pressing down the Valley with swift, 
swinging stride — not with the discontented bearing of soldiers 
whose discipline alone carries them to what they feel to be a 
scene of fruitless sacrifice, but with the glad alacrity and aggres- 
sive ardor of men impatient for battle, and who, from long know- 
ledge of war, are conscious that Fortune has placed within their 
grasp an opportunity which, by the magic touch of veteran steel, 
may be transformed to "swift-winged victory " 

Halting for a moment in rear of the " Ragland house," Mahone 
bade his men strip off blankets and knapsacks and prepare for 

Then riding quickly to the front, while the troops marched in 
single file along the covered-way, he drew rein at Bushrod John- 
son's headquarters, and reported in person to Beauregard. In- 
formed that Johnson would assist in the attack with the outlying 
troops about the Crater, he rode still further to the front, dis- 

* Statement of Lieutenant-Colonel W. II. Palmer, chief-of-staff to General Hill. 

t The device n-ai, of course, Mahone's. General Meade says : Generals Hancock ami War- 
ren "sent me reports that the eneniv's lines in their front were strongly held, * * * that 
the eni'iuii liml sent aini/i none nf their ten, ,/,.-< in their femit, and it was Impossible to do any- 
thing there."— Report on the Conduct of the War (lS(>r>), volume I, page T. General Warren 
appears to have been hard to convince, for as lHte as December '20th, IS114, lie testifies that 
he is "quite well satisfied that they dhc enemy in his immediate front) did not take part in 
the attack."— Hi., page s'i 


mounted, and pushing along the covered-way from the Plank 
road, came out into the ravine, in which he afterwards formed 
his men. Mounting the embankment at the head of the covered- 
way, he descried within one hundred and sixty yards 


and beyond, floating proudly from the captured works, eleven 
Union flags. Estimating rapidly from the hostile colors the 
probable force in his front, he at once dispatched his courier to 
bring up the Alabama brigade from the right,* assuming thereby 
a grave responsibility, yet was the wisdom of the decision vindi- 
cated by the event. 

Scarcely had the order been given, when the head of the Vir- 
ginia brigade began to debouch from the covered-way Directing 
Colonel Weisiger, its commanding officer, to file to the right and 
form line of battle, Mahone stood at the angle, speaking quietly 
and cheerily to the men. Silently and quickly they moved out, 
and formed with that precision dear to every soldier's eye — the 
Sharpshooters leading, followed by the Sixth, Sixteenth, Sixty- 
first, Forty-first and Twelfth Virginiaf — the men of Second 
Manassas and Crampton's Gap! 

But one caution was given — to reserve their fire until they 
reached the brink of the ditch ; but one exhortation, that they 
were counted on to do this work, and do it quickly. 

Now the leading regiment of the Georgia brigade began to 
move out, when suddenly a brave Federal officer, seizing the 
colors, called on his men to charge. Descrying this hostile 
movement on the instant, Weisiger, a veteran of stern counte- 
nance which did not belie the personal intrepidity of the man,! 
uttered to the Virginians the single word — 

* This was "Jimmy Blakemore," well known in the Army of Northern Virginia as one of 
the most gallant lads in the service. In critical events Mahone would entrust to him the 
most important messages, and in no instance did he fail him. 

t The Virginia brigade moved up left in front, which accounts for the order of the regi- 
ments. Before moving out of the covered-way, each regiment was counter-marched on its 
own ground. Singularly enough, the enemy also moved forward left in front.— Cf. Report 
on the Conduct of the War, page 193. 

t "Captain Hintoa came up and reported that he hal reported to General Mahone as di- 
rected, who said that I must await orders from him or Captain Girardey (who was then acting 
on Mahoue's staff). A few moments later Girardey came up to us. Just at that time I saw 
a Federal officer leap from the works with a stand of colors in his hand, and at least fifty or 
more men with him, as I supposed purposing to charge us. I repeated my orders to Girardey 
and told him that if we did not move forward promptly all would be lost. He agreed with 
me, and I then requested him to report to Mahone the circumstances and that I had moved 
forward. I then gave the command, 'Attention,' 'Forward.' The men sprang to their 
feet and moved forward at a double-quick, reserving their Are, as ordered, until within a few 
feet of the enemy, when they delivered a galling fire and then used the bayonet freely."— MS. 
report of Brigadier-General D. A. Weisiger. Statement of Captain D. A. Hinton, A. D. C, 
Adjutant Hugh Smith and others officers. General S G. Griffin, U. S. Volunteers, says : " The 
Rebels made a very desperate attack at this time." — Report on the Conduct of War (1865), 
volume I, page 188. 



Then the Sharpshooters and the men of the Sixth on the right, 
running swiftly forward, for theirs was the greater distance to 
traverse, the whole line sprang along the crest, and there burst 
from more than eight hundred warlike voices that fierce yell 
which no man ever yet heard unmoved on field of battle. 
Storms of caseshot from the right mingled with the tempest of 
bullets which smote upon them from the front, yet was there no 
answering volley, for these were veterans, whose fiery enthusiasm 
had been wrought to a finer temper by the stern code of discip- 
line, and even in the tumult the men did not forget their orders. 
Still pressing forward with steady fury, while the enemy, appalled 
by the inexorable advance, gave ground, they reached the ditch 
of the inner works — 


and the Sixth and Sixteenth, with the Sharpshooters, clutching 
their empty guns and redoubling their fierce cries, leaped over 
the retrenched-cavalier, and all down the line the dreadful work 
of the bayonet began. 

How long it lasted none may say with certainty, for in those 
fierce moments no man heeded time, no man asked, no man rave 
quarter; but in an incredibly brief space, as seemed to those who 
looked on, the whole of the advanced line north of the Crater 
was retaken, the enemy in headlong flight,* while the tattered 
battle-flags planted along the parapets from left to right, told Lee 
at the Gee house that from this nettle danger, valor had plucked 
the flower, safety for an army. 

Redoubling the sharpshooters on his right, Mahone kept down 
all fire from the Crater, the vast rim of which frowned down upon 
the lower line occupied by his troops. 

And now the scene within the horrid pit was such as might be 
fitly portrayed only by the pencil of Dante after he had trod 

*Ib., pages 21, 121, 20S. Oi'iitral Ayres, U. S. Volunteers, says : " I saw the negroes coming 
hack to the rear like a sand-slide."— Tb., page 185. General t'enero. Hie commander of the 
negro division, who was censured by the Court of Tn<|uiry (D>., page '21 fi) for "being in a 
bomb-proof habitually " on this day, also tcstilh's emphatically to the disorderly night, but 
scarcely much weight can be attached to his statements unless corroborated by others. On 
August 31, isiu, excusing the behavior of his troops, he testilies: "I would add that my 
*" ops are raw troops, and never had be • ••■ ■ ■ . . ... .• ., .,__. ... •_. , ..-- 


"nine-circled Hell." From the great mortars to the right and 
left, huge missiles, describing graceful curves, fell at regular in- 
tervals with dreadful accuaracy and burst among the helpless 
masses huddled together, and every explosion was followed by 
piteous cries, and often-times the very air seemed darkened by 
flying human limbs. Haskell, too, had moved up his Eprouvette 
mortars among the men of the Sixteenth Virginia — so close, in- 
deed, that his powder-charge was but one ounce and a half — 
and, without intermission, the storm of fire beat upon the hapless 
men imprisoned within. 

Mahone's men watched with great interest this easy method of 
reaching troops behind cover, and then, with the imitative inge- 
nuity of soldiers, gleefully gathered up the countless muskets 
with bayonets fixed, which had been abandoned by the enemy, 
and propelled them with such nice skill that they came down 
upon Ledlie's men "like the rain of the Norman arrows at 

At half-past ten, the Georgia brigade advanced and attempted 
to dislodge Wilcox's men, who still held a portion of the lines 
south of the Crater, but so closely was every inch of the ground, 
searched by artillery, so biting was the fire of musketry, that, 
obliquing to their left, they sought cover behind the cavalier- 
trench won by the Virginia brigade — many officers and men tes- 
tifying by their blood how gallantly the venture had been essayed.. 

Half an hour later, the Alabamians under Saunders arrived, 
but further attack was postponed until after I P. M., in order to- 
arrange for co-operation from Colquitt on the right. Sharply to- 
the minute agreed upon, the assaulting line moved forward, and 
with such astonishing rapidity did these glorious soldiers rush 
across the intervening space that ere their first wild cries sub- 
sided, their battle-flags had crowned the works.* The Confede- 
rate batteries were now ordered to cease firing, and forty volun- 
teers were called for to assault the Crater, but so many of the 
Alabamians offered themselves for the service, that the ordinary 
system of detail was necessary. Happily, before the assaulting 
party could be formed, a white handkerchief, made fast to a ram- 
rod, was projected above the edge of the Crater, and, after a brief 
pause, a motley mass of prisoners poured over the side and ran 
for their lives to the rear. 

•After the recovery of the lines north of the Crater, Meade determined to withdraw all 
his troops. The order was given at 9.30 A. M., but Burnside was authorized to use his dis- 
cretion as to the exact hour, and it was nearly 12 M. before the order was sent into the Cra- 
ter. Of course, no one knew this on the Confederate side, and the fact can in no way detract 
from the splendid conduct of the Alabamians, but it accounts in great measure for the slight, 
resistance they encountered. See Report on Conduct of the War (1865), volume I, pages 5S, 
157. General Hartranft's statement is very naive as to the conclusion he reached when he 
saw the Alabamians rushing forward with their wild cries: " This assaulting column of the- 
enemy came up, and we concluded — General Griffin and myself — that there was no use in hold- 
ing it (the Crater) any longer, and so we retired." — lb., page 190. 


In this grand assault on Lee's lines, for which Meade had 
massed sixty-five thousand* troops, the enemy suffered a loss of 
above five thousand men, including eleven hundred and one pris- 
oners — among whom were two brigade commanders!, while vast 
quantities of small arms and twenty-one standards fell into the 
hands of the victors. J 

Yet many brave men perished on the Confederate side. El- 
liott's brigade lost severely in killed and prisoners. The Virginia 
brigade, too, paid the price which glory ever exacts. The Sixth 
carried in ninety-eight men and lost eigthy-eight, one company — 
"the dandies," of course — "Old Company F" of Norfolk, losing 
every man killed or wounded. § Scarely less was the loss in 
other regiments. The Sharpshooters carried in eighty men and 
lost sixty-four— among the slain their commander, William 
Broadbent, a man of prodigious strength and activity, who, leap- 
ing first over the works, fell pierced by eleven bayonet wounds — a 
simple captain, of whom we may say, as was said of Ridge : " No 
man died that day with more glory, yet many died and there 
was much glory " 

Such was the battle of the Crater, which excited the liveliest 
satisfaction throughout the army and the country. Mahone 
was created Major-General from that date; Weisiger, who was 
wounded, Brigadier-General; Captain Girardey, of Mahone's staff, 
also Brigadier — the latter an extraordinary but just promotion, 
for he was a young officer whose talents and decisive vigor quali- 
fied him to conduct enterprises of the highest moment; yet fate 
willed that his career should be brief, for within a fortnight he 
fell in battle north of the James, his death dimming the joy of 

On the Federal side, crimination and recrimination followed 
what General Grant styled "this miserable failure." There was 
a Court of Inquiry, and a vast array of dismal testimony, which 
disclosed the fact that of four generals of division belonging to 

•"General Burnside's corps, of fifteen thousand men, was * * * to rush through and 
get on the crest beyond. I prepared a force of from forty thousand to fifty thousand men to 
take advantage of our success gained by General Burnslde's corps."— Meade— II.., page 3T. 

t One of these brigade commanders was that knightly soldier, General Francis W. Hartlett, 
whose death, since the delivery of this address, has been as sincerely mourned in Virginia 
as in Massachussetts. 

t After carefully analyzing all the Federal reports, General Mahone pat the loss of the 
enemy at five thousand two hundred and forty; Cannon (Grant's Campaign against Rich- 
mond, page 245) at five thousand six hundred and forty; General Meade (Report of August 
16th, 1864) puts loss at. four thousand and four hundred in A. P. and Eighteenth corps, but 
does not give loss in Turner's division, Tenth corps. 

§ Company K, Sixth Virginia, carried in sixteen men ; eight were killed outright and seven 
wounded. The small number of men carried into the fight by the Sixth is explained by the 
fact that quite half the regiment was on picket cm the old front (on the right), and could not 
be withdrawn. The Forty-lirst Virginia lost, mir-fourtli its number; the Sixty-first within a 
1 'ruction nfhalfWa number. The loss in the Sixteenth was nearly as great as in the Sixth pro- 
portionally, but I have been unable to get the exact figures 'in that regiment and in the 


the assaulting corps, not one liad folloiocd Ins men into the Con- 
federate tines.''- Nay, that the very commander of the storming 
division, finding, like honest Nym, "the humor of the breach too 
hot," was at the crisis of the fight palpitating in a bomb-proof, 
beguiling a Michigan surgeon into giving him a drink of rum, 
on the plea that " he had the malaria, and had been struck by a 
spent ball"! — legends of a hoary antiquity, whereof, let us 
humbly confess, we ourselves have heard. 

Three weeks of comparative quiet followed along the Peters- 
burg front, yet during this time many brave men fell unnoticed 
in the trenches, for there was no change in the proximity of the 
hostile lines, and the dropping fire of the pickets by day, and 
fiery curves of mortar-shell by night, told that the portentous 
game of war still went on. 

Never was the Army of Northern Virginia more defiant in its 
bearing — never more confident in the genius of its leader. De- 
serters pouring into our lines brought consistent reports of the 
demoralization of the enemy — gold rose to 2.90, the highest 
point it touched during the war — while from the west and certain 
States in the North the clamors for peace redoubled, the New- 
York Herald being loudest in demanding that an embassy be 
sent to Richmond, "in order to see if this dreadful war cannot 
be ended in a mutually satisfactory treaty of peace." J 

"An army," says the great Frederick, "moves upon its belly," 
and I am not prepared to say that the jaunty bearing of Lee's 
men, as "shrewdly out of beef" at this time as ever were the 
English at Agincourt, was not due in a measure to the fact that 
just then their eyes were gladdened by droves of fat cattle sent 
them by an old comrade — Lieutenant-General Jubal Early, who, 
without the trifling- formality of a commission from Governor 
Curtain, had assumed the duties of Acting Commissary-General 
of the rich Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. § 

We have seen that shortly after Grant's arrival in front of 
Petersburg, there was open to him "a swarm of fair advantages," 
for his superb line of formidable redoubts, capable of assured 

* General Grant's statement. — Report on the Conduct of War (1865), volume I, page 110. 
See also finding of Court of Inquiry — lb., page 216. 

t The testimony of Surgeon O. P Chubb, Twentieth .Michigan (lb., page 191), and of Sur- 
geon H. E. Smith, Twenty-seventh Michigan (lb., page iJiMi), is certainly very lively reading. 
Surgeon Smith is unable to say how often*! he doughty warriors, Ledlie and Ferrero. •'smiled" 
at each other, for •' I was not in the bomb-proof all the while that they were there. It was 
perfectly safe in there, but it might not have been outside. I had to go out to look after the 
wounded."— lb., page '2i)7. 

1 1 have collected a great number of such excerpts fr"in leading Northern and Western 
papers (ism), as being not without significance. Certainly no such utteraue 'S would have 
been tolerated in lsdl-c.'i. 

§ Later (September Kith, isi4), Hampton made his brilliant " cattle raid," in rear of the Army 
of the Potomac, in which he inflicted considerable loss on the enemy in killed and wounded, 
and brought, oil' above three hundred prisoners and two thousand live hundred beeves.— 
T.ce's official dispatch. 


defence by a fraction of his force, made it possible for him to 
operate on either Confederate flank with the bulk of his army, 
or, should the conjuncture favor, to assault in front. 

But now, tenacious of purpose as was the Union General, he- 
had, according to his own explicit testimony,* satisfied himself 
that an attack on Richmond from the north side would be 
attended with frightful loss of life — he had just received humili- 
ating proof that Lee's front could not be shaken by mining or 
assault — and thenceforward the campaign narrowed itself to a 
continuous effort to turn the Confederate right and cut Lee's com-, 
munications — a series of rough strokes parried with infinite skill, 
although at times the "Thor-hammer" beat down the guard of 
the slender rapier, which so often pierced the joints of the giant 

By the end of August, Grant was firmly established across 
the Weldon road — a line of communication important, indeed, to. 
Lee, but not absolutely necessary Yet was it not yielded with- 
out much desperate fighting, as was witnessed by the sharp 
"affair" of August 1 8th, favorable to the Confederates, who were 
commanded by General Harry Heth; by the brilliant action of 
August 19th, in which the troops were immediately commanded 
by Heth and Mahone (the brunt of the fighting falling on Heth's 
division and Pegram's artillery), and in which the enemy sustained 
a loss of many standards and above twenty-seven hundred pris- 
oners, by the battle of August 21st, in which Mahone failed to 
dislodge the enemy, for, attacking with six small brigades, and 
twelve guns under Pegram, he encountered, instead of the weak 
flank his scouts had led him to expect, a heavily-entrenched front 
manned by an army corps, the approaches to which were swept 
by a powerful artillery;! finally, by 


August 25 th, in which twelve stands of colors, nine pieces of 
artillery, ten caissons, twenty-one hundred and fifty prisoners, 
and thirty-one hundred stands of small arms fell into the hands of 
the victors, who suffered a total loss of but seven hundred and 
twenty men.J This brilliant stroke was delivered by Heth, under 
the immediate eye of A. P Hill, and was mainly clue to the 
steadiness of the North Carolina troops, for these constituted 

" Report on Conduct of the War (1865), volume I, page 110. 

tin this action the gallant Saunders, who led the Alabamians at the ('rater, was killed. 
Immediately on the repulse of the first attack, Mahone carefully reconnoitred, under sharp 
tire, the whole front, and told General Lee that, with two more brigades he would pledge him- 
self to dislodge Warren before nightfall. The division from which Lee at once consented to 
draw the additional support, arrived too late to make the projected attack advisable. 

t A. P. Hill's offlcial report. 


nearly the whole of the assaulting column, and the first colors 
planted on the hostile works were borne by Sergeant Roscoe Rich- 
ards, Twenty-seventh North Carolina, Cooke's brigade, Heth's 
division. General Lee, writing to Governor Vance under date of 
August 29th, says : " I have been frequently called upon to men- 
tion the services of North Carolina troops in this army, but their 
gallantry and conduct were never more deserving of admiration 
than in the engagement at Reams' Station on the 2.5th instant." 
Heth, with a generosity as characteristic of the man as his taci- 
turn pluck, declared that he did not believe that the works would 
have been "practicable" for any troops, had not Pegram first 
shaken the position by the terrific fire of his guns, and surely, so 
long as there is left a survivor of that memorable day, the superb 
conduct of the cavalry is not likely to be forgotten. Lee, who 
weighed his words if ever general did, bears emphatic testimony 
to their gallantry in his official dispatch, and states that Hampton 
"contributed largely to the successs of the day."* 

In these four engagements the enemy acknowledge a loss of 
above seven thousand men, and there is reason to believe that 
the occupation of the Weldon road during this month cost them 
between eight and nine thousand men. The Confederate loss 
was not above one-fourth that number. f 

Then followed the severe combats of September 30th and Oc- 
tober 1st — known as the "Battfes of the Jones House," in which 
the enemy again lost heavily in prisoners J — after which suc- 
ceeded a period of quiet, broken by several minor "affairs" 
brought on by continuous extension of the Federal left. The 
Presidential election in the North was now near at hand,§ and 
before settling down into winter quarters, General Grant deter- 
mined to make one more vigorous effort to turn Lee's right, seize 
the Southside road, and compel the evacuation of Petersburg. 
For this purpose the Federal commander concentrated on his 
left the greater portion of three army corps, || and on October 
27th was fought 

* Lee's official dispatch, August 26th, 1864. 

t This estimate is based on a careful collation of Federal and Confederate reports. 

X General Cadmus Wilcox, in his report, says the enemy's loss on September 30th was "over 
three hundred and fifty killed and about two thousand prisoners." On October 1st, in his 
front, " the Federal line was captured with three hundred prisoners." " My entire loss," he 
adds, "was two hundred and eighty-five; of this number only fifty-nine were killed. In 
Heth's brigades it was probably leas." — Transactions of Southern Historical Society, April, 
1875. Swinton (A. P., page 539) puts the Federal loss " above twenty-five hundred." 

5 Mr. Edward Lee Childe, usually well informed, makes a curious blunder on this point. 
He says: "Grant y tenait d' autant plus que Selection presidentielle approcha t, et que ses 
chances comme candidat augmenterait si le succ£s le designait h V admiration de ses con- 
citoyens."— Le General Lee, Sa Vie et ses Campagnes, page 32T. Following Swinton (A. P., 
page 543), he represents Lee as present en the field. At the time of thp action Lee was north 
of the James. Nor was Hill on the field, as Swinton and Childe represent. Both largely 
overstate the numbers concentrated on the Confederate side during the night. 

II Swinton, A. P., page 540. 



an action so confused by reason of the heavily wooded character 
■of the country, that it would be impossible for you to follow the 
details without the aid of a map, so I must content myself with 
stating simply that the attempt failed; not forgetting the caution 
to you, however, that so far as concerns the conduct of affairs, and 
the numbers engaged on the Confederate side, Mr. Swinton's 
narrative is a very fallacious guide. 

Once more, Mr. Stanton, who had long preserved silence, ap- 
peared to chronicle victory, and gold, which ever sympathizes 
with success, rose from 2.l8 I / 4 to 2.41 — within ten days to 2.57 
Nor shall we judge him harshly in this instance, for his bulletin 
was based upon the following dispatch : 

City Point, October 27, 9 P. M. 

I have just returned from the crossing of the Boydton plank- 
road with Hatcher's creek. At every point the enemy was found 
entrenched and his works manned. No attack was made during 
the day further than to drive the pickets and cavalry inside the 
main works. Our casualties have been light — probably less than 
two hundred. The same is probably true of the enemy. 

[Later] — The attack on Hancock proves to be a decided suc- 
cess. We lost no prisoners except the usual stragglers, who are 
■always picked up. 

U. S. Grant. 

General Lee's dispatch is as follows: 

Headquarters Army Northern Virginia, 
October 28, 1SU4. 

Honorable Secretary of War— General Hill reports that the 
attack of General Heth upon the enemy on the Boydton plank- 
road, mentioned in my dispatch last evening, was made by three 
brigades under General Mahone in front and by General Hamp- 
ton in rear. Mahone captured four hundred prisoners, three 
stands of colors, and six pieces of artillery The latter could not 
be brought off, the enemy having possession of the bridge. In 
the attack subsequently made by the enemy, General Mahone 
broke three lines of battle, and during the night the enemy re- 
treated, leaving his wounded and more than two hundred and 
fifty dead on the field. 

[Later] — "The total number of prisoners, according to Gene- 
ral Hill's report, is seven hundred." 

R. E. Lee, General. 


A discrepancy of statement which I leave to be reconciled by 
those better equipped for the task than I am, simply remarking 
that a perusal of the war dispatches of General Grant and Gene- 
ral Sheridan often recalls to one that witty saying of Sidney 
Smith: "Nothing is so deceptive as figures, except — -facts." 

On the same day, General Field, north of the James, captured 
seven stands of colors and above four hundred prisoners,* and 
when it leaked out in the New York papers, as it gradually did, 
that this was no mere "advance for the purpose of reconnois- 
sance," as stated by Mr. Stanton in his bulletin, but a grand blow 
for the capture of Petersburg, which had been promptly parried 
with a loss to the Federals of above three thousand men, who 
shall wonder that for the time the "bulls," and not the bulletins, 
had the best of it in Wall street? From 


that followed, history would fain avert her eyes. They were 
such as can never be fogotten by those who watched and waited; 
such as will never be credited by those who shall read the story 
hereafter in peace and plenty. To guard the long line of en- 
trenchments from the Chickahominy to Hatcher's run, there was 
now left but a gaunt remnant of that valiant host which had 
cheered Lee in the Wilderness as it passed to victory; which had 
hurled back nearly thrice its number at Cold Harbor, and wrought 
humiliation to the Army of the Potomac on a score of fields in 
this vigorous campaign. 

Living on one-sixth of a ration of corn-meal and rancid pork:f 
remember, men and women of Richmond, that they more than 
once offered to share that little with the starving poor of your 
beautiful city.J Thinly clad, their bodies indeed shivered under 
the freezing blasts of heaven, but their dauntless spirits cowered 
not under the fiery blasts of war. But there was to be added a 
pang deeper than the pang of hunger; sharper than the rigor of 
the elements or hurt of shot and steel. For now, from the cotton 
lands of Georgia and the rice fields of Carolina, came borne on 
every blast the despairing cry which wives and little ones raised 
to wintry skies lit by the baleful glare of burning homes, and the 
men of the "Old North State" bethought them of the happy 
homesteads Which lay straight in the path of the ruthless con- 

* Lee's official dispatch, October 27th, 1864. 

t This was the case for a considerable time in Hill's corps. 

t The newspapers of the time are filled with resolution? to that effect, passed in general 
meeting by various regiments and battalions of the army. On a number of occasions the 
scanty ration was evenly divided and actually sent ; and several times the men voted to. 
keep "fast-day " once a week, in order to send that day's rations. 


queror, who was waging war with an audacious cruelty "capable 
of dishonoring a whole nation." A. subtle enemy, till then well- 
nigh unknown, attacked in rear this army which still haughtily 
held its front, and men, with bated breath and cheeks flushing 
through their bronze, whispered the dread word "desertion." 

The historian, far removed from the passions of the time, may 
coldly measure out his censure; but we, comrades, bound to these 
men by countless proud traditions, can only cry with the old He- 
brew prophet, "Alas! my brother!" and remember that these 
were valiant souls, too sorely tried. 

Nor may I venture to portray the glorious vicissitudes of 


Foreign critics have censured Lee, who in February of this 
year was raised to the empty rank of General-in-Chief, because 
he did not take the commissariat into his own hands and perfect 
measures for the better care of his men; but it is criticism based 
on imperfect knowledge, for under General St. John the commis- 
sariat at this time reached a creditable state of efficiency,* and 
these critics should not forget that the dictum of the foremost 
master of the art of war is, that "to command an army well, a 
general must think of nothing else." Others have expressed sur- 
prise that a soldier of such nice foresight should have persisted 
for so long a time in endeavoring to maintain lines of such extent 
with a force constantly decreasing, ill fed and poorly clad; but 
surely they have failed to remember how often in war the sun of 
military genius has been obscured by the mists of politics. 

Too late was evacuation determined upon, and on March 25th 
Gordon made his brilliant assault against the Federal right; 
a daring stroke, indeed, but the daring of wisdom and not the 
rashness of ignoble despair, for by this means alone could Lee 
hope to force Grant to draw in his left flank which menaced the 
proposed line of retreat. 

How Gordon's sudden blow was at first crowned with success; 
how his guides ran away and left his storming columns groping 
in ignorance ;f how his supports failed to reach him; how, in 
short, a moody fortune defeated the accomplishment of the bold 
plan; how later, when, to use Lee's own phrase, "the line 
stretched so long as to break," the great commander yet yielded 

•General John ('. Breckinridge was created Secretary of War on February Mil, lsr.a, and 
at once placed Genera! I. M. SI.. John at the head of the Commissary Tep irtnient. In a 
letter, now In mv possession, written by General Breckinridge, he .-.ays: "General st. John's 
conduct of the department was so sal isfaeior.v, that a few weeks afterwards T received a 
letter from General Lee, in which he said that his army had not been so well supplied for 
many mouths." 

t Statement of Licutcuanl-General John B. Gordon. 



not to fate, but struck again and again with the old, fierce skill — - 
all this, as well as the unsparing story of the ill-starred battle of 
Five Forks, will, I trust, be one day recounted to us by some 
comrade in memorable detail. 

On the evening of April 1st the battle of Five Forks was 
fought and lost to the Confederates, and at dawn next morning, 
from Appomattox to Hatcher's run, the Federal assaults began. 
Lee was forced back from the whole line covering the Boydton 
plank-road, and Gibbon's division of Ord's corps boldly essayed 
to break through into the town. The way was barred by an open 
work of heavy profile, known as " Battery Gregg," garrisoned by 
a mixed force of infantry, chiefly North Carolinians of Lane's 
brigade, and a score of artillerymen, in all two hundred and fifty 
men. Thrice Gibbon's columns, above five thousand strong, 
surged against the devoted outpost; thrice they recoiled, but 
about noon a fourth assault was ordered, and the assailants, 
rushing in front and rear, discovered with surprise and admira- 
tion that of these two hundred and fifty brave men, two hundred 
and twenty had been struck down, yet were the wounded loading 
and passing up their muskets to the thirty unhurt and invincible 
veterans, with no thought of surrender, still maintained a biting 
fire from the front. A splendid feat of arms, which taught pru- 
dence to the too eager enemy for the remainder of the day, for 
nearly six hundred of Gibbon's men lay dead and stricken in 
front of the work, and the most daring of the assailants recog- 
nized that an army of such metal would not easily yield the 


But though time admonishes me to pass over in such brief 
fashion these last eventful days, duty bids me pause to make 
mention of two, who, everywhere conspicuous in the defence, 
yielded up their lives at the end. 

One, high in rank, had been trained to the profession of arms, 
and at the very outbreak of hostilities offered to his native State 
a sword already forged to an heroic temper by fire of battle. 

Endowed by nature with commanding resolution and marvel- 

* The detachment from Lane's brigade was commanded by Lieutenant George H. Snow, 
Thirty-third North Carolina. There were also in the fort some supernumerary artillerymen, 
armed as infantry, a section of Chew's Maryland battery, and small detachments from Har- 
ris' Mississippi brigade (under Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan), and from Thomas' Georgia 
brigade (under Captain William Norwood). The error of attributing this brilliant defence to 
Harris' brigade alone, doubtless arose from Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan of that brigade being 
the ranking officer in the fort. The incident of the wounded men loading and passing up 
the muskets to their comrades, is attested by officers in the fort ; but I learn from General 
Lane's MS. report that the ammunition giving out, the men used rocks with great effect. 
General Lane's report has been published in the Southern Historical Society Papers. 


ous energy, his "forward spirit" ever "lifted him where most 
trade of danger ranged," and from that thrice glorious day when, 
leading in at Mechanicsville his superb "Light Division" with 
all the fire of youth and skill of age, he dislodged McClellan's 
right flank on the upper Chickahominy, even to this memorable 
April morning, when, riding with a single courier far in advance 
of his men, he sough to restore his broken lines at Petersburg — 
his every utterance and action was informed by the lofty spirit of 
a patriot, by the firmness and address of a valiant soldier. 

Much he suffered during this last campaign from a grivous 
malady, yet the vigor of his soul disdained to consider the weak- 
ness of his body, and accepting without a murmur the privations 
of that terrible winter, he remained steadfast to his duty until 
the fatal bullet stilled the beatings of a noble heart which had so 
often throbbed responsive to the music of victory. 

No more splendid monument, no nobler epitaph, than of that 
Latour d'Avergne, "the first grenadier of France," to whose 
name every morning at roll-call in the French army, answer was 
made, as the front-rank man on right of his old company stepped 
forward and saluted: Mort sur le champ de bataille — "dead upon 
the field of battle." Such monument, such epitaph, at least, is 
that of 

A. P. HILL, 

and the men of his old corps remember with sorrowful pride 
that his name lingered last upon the dying lips of Lee and of 

Of the other, who fell but the evening before at Five Forks, I 
almost fear to speak, lest I should do hurt to that memory which 
I would honor. For to those who knew him not, the simplest 
outline of a character so finely tempered by stern and gentle vir- 
tues would seem but an ideal picture touched with the tender 
exaggeration of retrospective grief; while to so many of you who 
knew him as he was — the gentle comrade and the brilliant fighter — 
any portrait must prove, at best, but a blurred semblance of the 
young soldier, whose simple, heroic, godly life rejects, as it were, 
all human panegyric. Yet even the coldest must allow that it 
was a life which afforded a notable example of how great a career 
may be crowded within the compass of a few years. In the spring 
of '61, a youth of modest demeanor, he entered the military ser- 
vice as a private soldier; in the spring of '65, still a mere lad, he 
fell in action, Colonel of Artillery, mourned by an arm}'. 

* "Tell Hill he miixt come up."— Colonel William Preston Johnston's account of Lee's last 
moments— Kev. J. Win. Jones' Personal of general K. K. Lee, page 451. 
"A. P. Hill, prepare for action."— Dabney's Life of Jackson, pa^" 719. 


More than once in desperate and critical events were grave 
trusts confided to his prudence, skill and courage; more than 
once did he win emphatic praise from Hill, from Jackson, and 
from Lee. Thus it was his lot to be tried in great events and his 
fortune to be equal to the trial, and having filled the measure of 
perfect knighthood, "chaste in his thoughts, modest in his words, 
liberal and valiant in deeds," there was at last accorded him on 
field of battle the death counted " sweet and honorable." 

Such was 


of the Third corps, who, at the early age of twenty-two, died 
sword, in hand at the head of his men, with all his " honor-owing 
wounds" in front "to make a soldier's passage for his soul." 

On Sunday night, April 2d, the lines of Petersburg and Rich- 
mond were, as I have said, evacuated, and the Army of North- 
ern Virginia passed out in retreat. Thus were yielded at the 
last forty miles of entrenchments guarded by less than forty 
thousand men,* yet held during ten months of ceaseless vigil 
and fevered famine with such grim tenacity, as has made it hard 
for the brave of every nation to determine whether to accord 
their sorrowful admiration more to the stern prowess of the 
simple soldier, or to the matchless readiness of a leader who by 
the fervor of his genius developed from slender resources such 
amazing power. 

With the abandonment of these lines ends the task confided 
to me, comrades, by your generous partiality To some other 
hand must be confided the story of that disastrous week which 
culminated in the surrender at Appomattox — a day which 
marked, indeed, the wreck of a nation, yet which may be recalled 
with no blush of shame by the men who there sadly furled those 
tattered colors emblazoned with the names of Manassas and 
Fredericksburg, of Chancellorsville and Cold Harbor — who there 
returned a park of blackened guns wrested from the victors at 
Gaines' Mill and Frazier's Farm, at Second Manassas and Har- 
per's Ferry, at the Wilderness and Reams' Station, at Appomattox 
Coiirtliousc itself on that very morning — who there, in the presence 
of above one hundred and forty thousand of their adversaries, 
stacked eight thousand of those "bright muskets" which for 
more than four years had "borne upon their bayonets" the 
mightiest Revolt in history. 

* In field returns for February, 1865, the number given is fifty-nine thousand and ninety, 
lour for Department of Northern Virginia, but as General. Early very pertinently remarks- 
this "affords no just criterion of the real strength of that army,, as those returns included 
the forces in the Valley and other outlying commands not available for duty on the lines."— 
Southern Historical Society Papers, July, 1S76, page 19. General Lee himself says : "At the 
time of withdrawing from the lines around Richmond and Petersburg, the number of troops 
amounted to about thirty-five thousand."— Letter to General William S. Smith July 2Tth 
1868, Reminiscences of General Lee, page 26S. ' ' 


Nor shall those men ever forget the generous bearing of the 
victorious host, which even in that supreme moment of triumph 
remembered that this gaunt remnant were the survivors of an 
army which but two years before had dealt them such staggering 
blows that there were more deserters from the Army of the Poto- 
mac than there were men for duty in the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia* — that they were the survivors of that army which, from 
the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, had put liors du combat more 
men than Lee had carried into the campaign; which, from Cold 
Harbor to Five Forks, had again put hors du combat as great a 
number as zcas left him for the defence of Petersburg, ,f 

Surely, it is meet that, with each recurring year, the survivors 
of such an army should gather themselves together to hear and 
know the truth. Thus shall the decorum of history be pre- 
served and error be not perpetuated. 

It is a duty, comrades, which we owe to ourselves, which we 
owe to our children, which we owe to our leader, whose fame 
shall shine with added lustre when the true nature of his diffi- 
culties shall be laid bare — when it shall be made clear to all, to 
what measure Lee, the Soldier, stood in the shade of powers to 
which Lee, the Patriot, rendered patriotic obedience. Yet of 
this are we sure, that it is a fame which malice cannot touch, 
which florid panegyric cannot injure — a fame which may well 
await the verdict of that time of which his ablest critic speaks 
with such prophetic confidence: "When History, with clear 
voice, shall recount the deeds done on either side, and the citi- 
zens of the whole Union do justice to the memories of the dead 
and place above all others the name of him who, in strategy 
mighty, in battle terrible, in adversity as in prosperity a hero 
indeed, with the simple devotion to duty, and the rare purity of 
the ideal Christian knight, joined all the kingly qualities of a 
leader of men." 

Above all, it is duty, which we owe those dauntless spirits who 
preferred death in resistance to safety in submission. 

" For a little while," says Dr. Draper, the Union historian, 
"those who have been disappointed clamor, then objurgation sub- 
sides into murmurs, and murmurs sink into souvenirs, and souve- 
nirs end in oblivion." 

* "At tlic moment I wnn placed in command (Will January, 1sr,:s), I caused a return to he 
made of the absentees of the army, ami found the numher to lie I wo thousand nine hundred 
and twenty-two commissioned oiti'cers and eighty-one thousand nine hundred and sixty-four 
non-commissioned oilicers am' privates. The desertions were at the rale of ahout two hun- 
dred a day."— Testimony of Major-Oi'iieral Joseph Hooker liefore the Congressional Com- 
mittee, March lUli, lsur., Report on the Conduct of the War, volume I, pa*!'- ll'i. The Held 
returns for month of January, 1sr>:;, civo seventy-two thousand two hundred and Iwenty-six 
men "for duty " in. the irlwle Depiutiiient of Sortliern Virginia. 

t This statement is the result of careful calculations of Federal losses, based entirely on 
figures given hy Swiulon and other Northern historians. 


But no — 

Time cannot teach forgetfulness 
When grief's full heart is fed by fame. 

Here, in this battle-crowned capital of our ancient Common- 
wealth, shall "the men who wore the gray" yearly gather and 
recall the names of those who went forth to battle at the bidding 
of Virginia — who now lie sleeping on the bosom of this mother, 
that not unmindful of their valor, not ungrateful for this filial 
devotion, shall keep forever bright the splendor of their deeds, 
"till earth, and seas, and skies are rended." 

No " Painted Porch " is hers, like that of Athens, where, for 
half a thousand years, the descendants of the men who had fol- 
lowed Miltiades to victory might trace the glories of their Ma- 
rathon; no gleaming Chapelle des Invalides, with the light flam- 
ing through gorgeous windows on tattered flags of battle; no 
grand historic Abbey, like that of England, where, hard by 
the last resting place of her princes and her kings, sleep the 
great soldiers who have writ glorious names high upon their 
country's roll with the point of their stainless swords. 

Nay, none of this is hers. 

Only the frosty stars to-night keep solemn watch and ward 
above the wind-swept graves of those, who, from Potomac to 
James, from Rapidan to Appomattox, yielded up their lives that 
they might transmit to their children the heritage of their fathers. 

Weep on, Virginia, weep these lives given to thy cause in vain ; 

The stalwart sons who ne'er shall lieed thy trumpet-call again ; 

The homes whose light is quenched for aye ; the graves without a stone ,- 

The folded flag, the broken sword, the hope forever flown. 

Yet raise thy heai, fair land ! thy dead died bravely for the right; 
The folded flag is stainless still, the broken sword is bright ; 
No blot is on thy record found, no treason sods thy fame, 
Nor can disaster ever dim the lustre of thy name.* 

Pondering in her heart all their deeds and words, Virginia calls; 
us, her surviving sons, "from weak regrets and womanish laments 
to the contemplation of their virtues," bidding us, in the noble 
words of Tacitus, f to "honor them not so much with transitory 
praises as with our reverence, and, if our powers permit us, with 
our emulation." 

Reminding her children, who were faithful to her in war, that 
"the reward of one duty is the power to fulfill another," she points 
to the tasks left unfinished when the "nerveless hands drooped 

* These lines are slightly altered from the noble poem entitled "The Ninth of April, 1865," 
by Percy Greg— Interleaves in the Work Day Prose of Twenty Years— Loudon, 1S7&. 

t Agri., chapter xlvi. 


over the spotless shields," and with imperious love claims a fealty 
no less devoted in these days of peace. 

I claim no vision of seer or prophet, yet I fancy that even now 
I descry the faint dawn of that day which thousands wait on with 
expectant eyes; when all this land — still the fairest on the globe — 
this land which has known so long what old Isaiah termed the 
"dimness of anguish" — shall grow glad again in the broad sun- 
light of prosperity, and from Alleghany to Chesapeake shall re- 
sound the hum and stir of busy life; when yonder noble road- 
stead, where our iron-clad "Virginia" revolutionized the naval 
tactics of two continents, shall be whitened by many a foreign 
sail, and you, her children, shall tunnel those grand and hoary 
mountains, whose every pass Lee and " old Stonewall " have made 
forever historic by matchless skill and daring. Thus, comrades, 
assured of her heroic past, stirred by a great hope for her future, 
may we to-night re-echo the cry of Richmond on Bosworth field: 

" Now civil wounds are stopped, peace lives again ; 
That she may long live here, God say amen ! " 

The following officers were elected: 

President — General W H. F. Lee. 

Vice-Presidents — General Robert Ransom, General Harry Heth, 
General A. L. Long, General William Terry and Captain D. B. 

Treasurer — Major Robert Stiles. 

Secretaries — Sergeants George L. Christian and Leroy S. Ed- 

Executive Committee — General B. T. Johnson, Colonel Thomas 
H. Carter, Major T. A. Brander, Major \V K. Martin, Private 
Carlton McCarthy 


After the exercises in the capitol, the Association and their 
invited guests assembled at a splendid banquet spread in the 
spacious dining room of the Saint Claire Hotel. 

In response to toasts, eloquent and thrilling speeches were 
made by General T. M. Logan, Captain James Lamb, Judge F. 
R. Farrar, Private C. McCarthy, Captain J. H. Chambcrlayne, 
General Fitz. Lee, Dr. R. T. Coleman, Dr. J. S. D. Cullen, Rev. 
Alexander Weddell, Major John W Daniel, General B. T. John- 
son, and others. 


A splendid audience assembled in the State Capitol on the 
evening of the 1st of November, 1877 

Rev. Dr. John E. Edwards opened the exercises with a fervent 
and appropriate prayer, after which the President, General W. 
H. F Lee, made a brief but eloquent address, and introduced 
Leigh Robinson, Esq., of Washington, who had served as a gal- 
lant private in the Richmond Howitzers, and had been chosen as 
the orator of the evening. 

Mr. Robinson was enthusiastically greeted, and frequently ap- 
plauded as he delivered the following address: 



Fellow Soldiers — I will not detain you by the expression of 
the pride with which I received, and the sense of the honor to 
myself with which I accepted, the invitation to address you. 
From either feeling excessive vanity alone could save me. But 
it is of more consequence, just at present, both to you and to 
myself, to show my appreciation of the compliment by at least 
my own endeavor to discharge, as best I may, the duty it im- 
poses — the duty at all times difficult, at all times delicate, of 
recounting, with due sensibility and without undue eagerness, 
honorable exploit with which, however humbly, we feel our- 
selves identified. 

There is a reply of some celebrity from a Spartan to a rheto- 
rician, who proposed to pronounce an eulogium on Hercules. 
■"On Hercules," said the Spartan, "who ever thought of blaming 
Hercules?" And certainly man's valor, the hero's fear of evils 
greater than death and temporal disaster, by virtue of which he 
is man, and has virtue, as it does not require apology, on the one 
hand, not unbecomingly, perhaps, may dispense with eulogy on 
the other. Charles V said: "How many languages one knows, 
so many times he is a man." How, then, are we to reckon the 
polyglot Mezzofanti, who carried the tongues, not of all litera- 
tures merely, but well-nigh of all articulate sound, in his head, 

Note by the Compiler.— Mr. Robinson omitted in the delivery about half of this address, 
but the Association asked the whole for publication. 


speaking one hundred and fourteen languages in all, yet leaving no 
memorable word in one? The tongue of fire, by which language 
is not only uttered but informed, and made itself a vital spark, 
was not among his members. How shall we compare this 
wonder of all tongues with Latour d'Avergne, "the first grena- 
dier of France," for whose death, while repulsing the front rank 
of a charge of imperial cavalry, a whole army wore mourning; 
to whose memory the republican General Desrolles erected a 
monument on the spot where he fell, which, "consecrated to vir- 
tue and courage, and put under the protection of the brave of 
every age and country," received that protection from the enemy 
he resisted, and remained in a foreign land to the honor alike of 
the friend who raised and the foe who respected it? Here was, 
if not an audible, then, at least, a visible speech, the flame image 
of a hero, appealing to all races and all ranks, from the chariot 
and horses of fire by which he ascends to the skies. To fall on 
the field of battle, with the ties of some common cause of man- 
hood behind, and in front the spears of some "proud Edward's 
power," is to live forever in the muster of the faithful; and in all 
ages, and to all nations, has seemed a sweet and honorable thing. 
In the front rank of duty, to opppose the odds of number and of 
fate, is man's highest act of faith, and not once, but always, is 
put under the protection of the brave of every age and country. 
The brave are one kindred; from age to age they are a sacred 
band. They are the true immortals. Theirs is the first of all 
gifts — the gift to quit themselves like men. By how many times 
a man has greatly dared and overcome, or in unequal battle over- 
borne, fought stoutly to the last, by so many times he is a man. 
Properly, then, it may be asked, who ever thought of blaming 
such ? 

But if, in the comparatively trivial business of cooking a hare, 
first to catch him, according to the recipe of Mrs. Glass, is essen- 
tial to success, surely, in the paramount matter of a Hercules, we 
must do as much before we undertake to serve him up with or 
without the sauces. Even Hercules has counterfeits, and here, 
more than in any other prime necessity of life, the genuine arti- 
cle is indispensable. Once put beyond controversy the facts of 
your prowess, and I agree with the Spartan, that panegyric be- 
longs to the supererogatory works. But clearly, it is ot the last 
importance to have and to hold the facts. 

Such a suggestion, reasonable at all times, can at no time be 
more certainly judicious than when the struggle to be recorded is 
the expression of the whole faculty and character of a people; 
stands forth as the most vivid image of what brains and sinew, 
and conscience, had arrived at in their case; and, being such, 


must more and more be accepted as the most infallible measure, 
which does or can exist, of whatever virtue or whatever want of 
virtue did dwell in them. The sum total of all which the past 
has done for them, of all which they have achieved and become 
in the past, in such case is comprehended and depicts itself in 
one supreme exhibition. History thus concentrates and reveals 
itself in figures drawn to the life. 

Such a trial of arms, so commensurate with the whole tone 
and tension, settled light and shadow of the South, as to have 
received their image and superscription and be their revelation, 
has been transacted in our day and generation, by us and those 
we represent. That lantern in the vessel's stern, shining only on 
the waves that are behind, which all experience has been likened 
to — that lantern is our civil war. By all means let all heroic 
facts be collected and protected. Let the truth with all sim- 
plicity, if need be with all severity, be told. 

An association, then, pledged to find out and true answer make 
to the question, how was it that, with such disparity of force,, 
environed, blockaded, beleaguered by the world — the very medi- 
cine-chest interdicted — how was it the unprovided South waged 
such a contest; more especially, how did that portion of it known,, 
once and forever, as Army of Northern Virginia, not only endure 
the toils of war, but again and again carry off its honors, from 
greatly superior numbers and munitions ? — such an association: 
can hardly be overestimated by a people jealous of their honor.. 
It must tell the story of valor which was ineffectual, of fortitude 
which seems fallacious; of a cause to which the rich gave of 
their abundance and the poor of their penury; in whose behalf 
honorable eminence and honest poverty were willing to exceed 
the measure of exaction, "hoping all things, believing all things." 
It must tell how a whole people arose with one emotion and 
conviction; how, in a desperate game, the South played her rose 
nobles, if not against, then, at least, with as free a hand as if they 
were so many crooked half-pennies ; how victory to the South 
was as exhaustive as defeat, and defeat to the North answered 
the purposes of victory; how the life of the South waned as her 
glory waxed ; how she graved her faith on her escutcheon ; how 
her sons bore the ark of her strength, like a plume of victory, 
from Bethel to Gettysburg; how they clenched in their long 
death-grip, from the Wilderness to Appomattox, and how at the 
last, and to the last, a remnant which rose above the carnage of 
war, the ruin of homes, the cry of distress, still gathered around 
a chieftain's form with the self-immolation of despair. All this 
it must tell, and truly; if need be, severely tell. 

Surely it is now high time to admit that, with such object in 


view, you have applied to a quarter where, in the nature of 
things, the details of such knowledge must be plentifully lacking. 
You have applied, not to the officers of the field and staff, who 
led your hope, wielded and organized your force — to none of' 
these renowned men, but to one far different; to a private soldier 
in the lowest rank, and greatly undistinguished there. An ob- 
scure artilleryman, especially when under fire, is liable to take 
the same dispassionate view of a conflict raging all along a line 
of miles, as the average politician seizes of the moral universe, 
of which, curiously enough, he, too, is part. The fiat fish, having 
eyes only on one side, is badly built for the vocation of tourist 
or descriptive voyager; but a man whose whole duty for four 
years was to follow blindly, suddenly ordered to look, not on one 
side only, but on all sides — that, too, after the lapse of years — is 
worse off than a fiat fish, or any other kind of fish, except, of 
course, a fish out of water. As the cockney tourist said to the 
Highlander, who addressed him is Gaelic, "Some explanation is 
necessary." Most unaffectedly I am embarrassed to find myself 
a critic of the deeds of them who led the history which I but 
followed. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that to every 
1 eader, were he the greatest, a follower is a quite indispensable 
appendage. Furthermore, in our cause, it may be said that 
leader and follower were one. We were his to follow; he was 
ours to lead. He was in the van, because the hearts he led were 
in the van, and we followed unconscious we were drawn. It 
seems you are resolved to know how this great matter shaped 
itself to the common soldier; how his mind, numerically the 
greatest, reconciled itself to the situation, and with decidedly ap- 
proving conscience volunteered his body to be made food for 
powder. Not so illogically, after all, perhaps, for your "bottom 
facts" you have gone to your bottom man. The blood I shall 
shed to-night be on you. 


Any portrayal of any one of the scenes of our great civil strife 
is incomplete which has not for background the depth of sin- 
cerity of conviction in the South, which rallied every principle 
of duty, and, answering exaction with devotion, made obedience 
a privilege. The history of the war, minus the justification of 
the war, it seems to me, were the principal character omitted. 
We believed in our capacity for local self-government; we be- 
lieved in our right to community independence as the best means 
of attaining the honest welfare of a neighborhood. We believed 
in a Federal Union, and deemed this tantamount to saying we 


believed in republican institutions—not the fancy, but the reality 
of commonwealths. We believed that such was the nature of 
the Federal compact to which we had acceeded, and that it was 
best for simplicity, best for economy, best for peace, best for lib- 
erty, that it should be so. 

On the other hand, the centralizations which antagonize all 
this seemed to us to concentrate wealth and power in one quarter 
by abstracting it from others, not always prepared or content to 
spare; in this way to accumulate great wealth and greater pov- 
erty; to replenish the palace and plunder the cottage; make the 
rich richer and the poor poorer; the strong more absolute, the 
weak more helpless. Vast empires, immense populations and 
resources have been administered by governments of this kind, 
but invariably under the shadow of domestic sedition. They 
rest on a sleeping lion. Power, which is false in its methods, 
must needs be oppressive in its measures. Louis Napoleon 
wielded just such a sceptre; but when he wished to join the 
shooting party of one of his subjects he went under the protec- 
tion of the police, and when he visited Baron Rothschild the 
whole establishment was put under surveillance for two weeks 
beforehand. He said, "The empire is peace"; and in what a 
whirlwind did he and his rotten empire sweep from the earth. 
It is preposterous for maladministration to say, " Let us have 
peace ! " and for freeman it is worse — it is criminal to concede it. 
It is not peace established in power, but captured in shame; not 
throned on high by willing witnesses, but pinned to the earth by 
imperial steel — the peace of the bayonet. 

We held that such a government was not for the public good, 
but for the public wrong, and by men and patriots should be re- 
sisted. "We," said the barons of Arragon to their king, "who 
are each of us as good, and who are altogether more powerful 
than you, promise obedience to your government if you main- 
tain our rights and privileges, but if not, not." The French rev- 
olution was possible in the shape which it assumed, because ad- 
ministrative centralization had swallowed up the provinces, and 
made Paris the throat by which a whole people could be collared 
and garroted. The Reign of Terror was little more than a dem- 
ocratic application of the Old Regime. It was the combination 
of despotism and "equality," so-called. In a word, this idea of 
local self-government has been the vital germ of free institutions 
wherever they have existed. Bunsen finds this fact in the twen- 
ty-seven nomes of ancient Egypt, and infers liberty then and 
there as a consequence. 

It is a kind of k>ose confederacy, the outgrowth of religion, 
■treaties and international law, which gives the nations of modern 


Europe some of the advantages of a European commonwealth, 
makes them spectators and critics of each other, and stimulates 
each to strive with rivals for the mastery 

Nor is independence and the strength of independence the 
only blessing. From the passion of free thought beautiful 
thought naturally rises. Beauty, no less than freedom, may be 
served. The grand eye of Goethe, glancing at a map of France 
by Dupin, in which some of the departments were marked en- 
tirely in black, to denote the mental darkness prevailing in those 
parts, incites him to ask : " Could this ever be if la belle France 
had ten centres instead of one? Frankfort, Bre- 

men, Hamburg and Lubeck are great and splendid cities. Their 
influence on the prosperity of Germany is immeasurable; but 
could they remain what they are, if deprived of their sover- 
eignty — they were to be degraded to the rank of provincial 
towns in some great German empire? I have reason to doubt 
it." When was it that Greece was the forehead of the world, as 
well as the heart which drank and rendered back its beauty? 
Was it when her once sovereign States, planed of their edges, 
were stuck, carbuncle shape, in Alexander's ring, or was it when 
the planes of her rose-diamond had each a focus of its own? 
Grote epitomized many histories into one paragraph, when he 
wrote of Athenian supremacy: "Every successive change of an 
armed ally into a tributary — every subjugation of a seceder — 
tended, of course, to cut down the numbers and enfeeble the 
authority of the Delian Synod; and what was still worse, it altered 
the reciprocal relations and feelings both of Athens and her allies, 
exalting the former into something like a despot, and degrading 
the latter into mere passive subjects." 

To drop wise saws for modern instances: See the Dutch re- 
public in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ! See a league 
of seven crowned with pre-eminence in commerce and manu- 
factures; see them become the workshop, the granary of man}'; 
adorn harbors with fleets, cities with elegance, a populous land 
with plenty; see them build the emporium to receive and distri- 
bute to Europe the trade of Asia, fill libraries, fill galleries, 
belt the earth with colonies, lead the agitation for civil and re- 
ligious liberty; making of the drain a statesman, of the dyke a 
hero, like an incantation of enchantment wrench from the sea 
the soil for a mighty people. If one were to ask, " Hut can this 
rope of sand" (as it is fashionable to call a federation), "maintain 
itself, can it fight?" it were enough to answer: The Spaniard, 
rallying in the rocky Asturias, by the brave, firm patience of 
eight centuries, had collected the strength to hurl the invader 
from his shore. Inch by inch he had fought his way from the 


Pyrenees to the Mediterranean, to find, as is wont to happen to 
such absolute success, he had vanquished the fear without to try- 
conclusions with a more subtle foe within. There came a day 
when Columbus gave a new world to Castile and Leon, and con- 
quest and marriage supremacy in the old to the sovereign of 
Spain; when Cortez could say to Charles V, "I am the man who 
has gained you more provinces than your father left you towns"; 
but it was a day wherein the virtue of Spain had been exchanged 
for her empire. This Spaniard, as Philip II, as the head of cen- 
tralized tyranny, with the invincible chivalry of Spain at his 
back, launched a world against the League of Seven. The King 
of Spain and the Indies, the dominator in Europe, Africa and 
America — Pharaoh and his hosts — went down. The rope of 
sand the League of Seven passed over, and shines to us from 
afar like another Pleiad — a beacon in the heaven. 

Indeed, when once we have arrived at the conclusion which, 
unless our premises are wholly sans citllottic, we must arrive at, 
that robberies, violences, murders, wrongs and injustices are to 
be resisted, if possible exterminated; that property, liberty, life, 
right and justice are to be established for the sake of each and 
all; that when the injured petition there should be both the will 
and the power to redress; since there is a limit both to human 
wisdom and to human power, it is no very abstruse metaphysics 
to suggest that the limit be not exceeded; that the law ward of 
the state be competent to his jurisdiction. When to an old wo- 
man, who complained that her husband had been killed by rob- 
bers, the Sultan Mahmud regretted the impossibility of keeping 
order in so distant a part of his dominions, the reply was, "Then 
why do you take kingdoms which you cannot govern?" Rulers 
at a distance, who cannot judge for us, should not act for us. 
Rightly to manage what lies about him and within his perview 
is enough to lay on any ruler. 

The Romans had a word for the government which has the 
public good for its object — it is our word republic, community 
government, a people's transaction of their own affairs, as it were, 
the every fact of a community realized in the administration of 
its government — a common weal. But another definition of a 
republic might be that arrangement of society which most tends 
to put the best citizen at the helm. " You see that Childebert is 
a man, obey him," is the first and the last philosophy of empire. 
Far as Thor can hurl his hammer in his realm. Feudal systems 
grow upon this basis — that the strongest shall rule as far as his 
honest strength prevails. Roman discipline conquers the world, 
because with it travel laws and government for the world, 
amongst them the preservation of local law. "They held with 


the plow what they gained by the sword." Norman conquests 
says: "I am stronger than you; I know how to conquer others, 
first having learned to conquer myself; proclaim me, therefore, 
king over you in name, since I am king over you in fact." 
Long-haired Merovingian Donothings are nominal kings, power- 
less to redress wrongs, to repulse Saracens, who, sweeping over 
Spain, have penetrated to the heart of France. Charles Martel 
and Pepin, mayors of the palace, are the real kings, and Pope 
Zacharias gave the decision which nature had already given, that 
he who possessed the power should bear the title of king. 
Merovingian Donothings are relegated to the religious houses, 
where doing nothing is decorous, and relieved of the throne, 
where it is not so. At different times, in different ways, society 
passes its statute of uses, which transfers the legal title to the 
use, declares he who governs the estate is its master. 

"A fine liberty this," said the Cobbler, "which leaves me cob- 
bling shoes as it found me"; but freedom has other definitions 
than "forty acres and a mule." The French Terrorists, who, in 
some sense, laid the axe unto the root of the tree, cannot be held 
to have gone to the root of the whole matter, when they ex- 
claimed: "What! is this our liberty? Can we no longer kill 
whom we please?" Liberty, like the glorious element of the 
suns, has its tabernacle in the highest. It is no easy leap to 
pluck its bright honor thence, whatever Hotspur may think. 
But to dive into the bottom of the deep for it, as Hotspur would, 
is plainly unwise. It is not the sun we fish for in the pool at our 
feet — not even a drowned sun — but a counterfeit drowned sun. 
Liberty is not to be looked for in the mire — it is to be climbed 
for in the stars. 

The apology for despotism is, that to get the ablest and wisest 
to the front, it must be accomplished by force. To have the 
same thing from preference is to have a republic, which thus 
clothes itself in a human shape. Freedom is the free dominion 
of the law. A republic also is the sway of the strongest, but of 
the strongest in truth; the strongest raised to supremacy on the 
shield of faithful followers, not the strongest tottering on the 
subservience of mercenary bayonets; the strongest planting his 
spear in the field for all who love it to kiss, and saying, behold 
my banner and my pledge; the strongest standing in the fore- 
front of the state, because the moral power of society is in his 
hands; not the strongest by an arithmetic which, like the pro- 
posed new currency, is referred to a double standard. How a 
man of real strength can walk upon the waves of human pas- 
sion, and to a people rightfully infuriated and goaded to despe- 
rarion, say, "be still!" for them make his quiet word law — nay 


more, make it gospel ! how such a man can walk erect in the 
flame of persecution, and firm amid the roar of ruin, we all saw 
last winter. When a party of human rights sent forth the edict, 
" Let every man worthy of freedom forthwith be deprived of it"; 
and a party of moral ideas had made of forgery "clerical error," 
and of perjury a fagon de parler, in a victim state, it was pos- 
sible for such a man to be. "He is the anointed of God," says 
Carlyle, "who melts all wills into his own, and hurls them as one 
thunderbolt." Even more, then, when the crisis calls, he who 
folds them in one bosom and does not hurl. How does a Wade 
Hampton make himself master of the situation, and exhort re- 
luctant homage from the adversaries of his State? By strata- 
gem? No, by character. By being a demagogue? v No, by 
being a hero. Because his people hated and feared him? No, 
but because they loved and honored they obeyed him. Always 
and everywhere, the power which is truly a master is the power 
which is truly a blessing. 

A republic, like all noble things, has a basis of reality. It is 
"the powers that be." It is already anarchy when it is only the 
powers that seem. It is the authority of justice over iniquity, 
of greatness over baseness, of freedom over servility. The only 
valid representation of society is the sincere expression of its 
powers. When a community, by voluntary act, selects its best 
elements to rule the worst, its wisest to lead the weakest, the 
community is free, as any individual is who submits his will to 
his reason. The best government which is possible, then, rests 
on the consent of the governed. 

The North and South have wrestled in more than one great 
debate, which should not be omitted in any proper account of 
the causes of the war, and our convictions touching them, but 
which can only be adverted to here. " Bank of the United 
States," "tariff," "internal improvements," "American system" — 
these are names for the decisive points in the battlefield of opin- 
ion, where the constitution was at stake. The power and the 
poison of great national corporations, the ruinous fallacy of a 
lobby court, all the shamelessness, all the odiousness of class 
government was the issue, with what results we all know The 
victors, fighting with more carnal weapons, it may be, were wiser 
in their generation. 

It was part and parcel of our doctrine to oppose the conces- 
sion of vast powers where there was no common interest. To 
say, " In this way shall you appropriate your means, not as you 
wish and your interests call for, but as we, far away and dif- 
ferent from you, require," is not government which rests on 
the consent of the governed, but fraud and spoliation in the 


teeth of their protest. "It is from local leaving alone," says 
Victor Hugo, "that English liberty took its rise." This was our 
general tone, though neither so invariable nor so unanimous as 
could be desired. "You have no right," we said, "to force us to 
purchase from you at double and triple prices; to legislate your 
wares into our homes, and our purses into your pockets. It is 
idle to say you do not compel us to buy in one place, when you 
prohibit us from buying in any other." Protection said: "Sell 
to us in a cheap market, buy from us in a dear one. You, the 
millions, who now buy iron from abroad, agree that the price of 
this be raised to such a point as will justify the employment of 
labor at American prices, and still leave abundant supplies for 
profits; you, the millions, incur this enormous addition to your 
expense, that we, the dozens, may reap it in our profits. We 
will pay the wages of our labor out of the industry of yours; 
you to do the work, or, what is the same thing, employ the 
labor, we to pocket the proceeds." This species of whole-souled 
patriotism has of late been exhibited, with something of the 
deforming power of an approximating class, by the concentra- 
tion of the system within the limits of single cities. The ring- 
master says: "Be patriotic; freely cast your portion into the 
public treasury, that I may take it out." 

In the interest of prosperity, in the interest of tranquility, 
what measure could be falser than the creation of a great cen- 
tral vortex, drawing everything into its eddy? Has not this 
become the very marrow of a struggle for very life — more and 
more rage of opposites over a prize of contest ever growing in 
dimensions, until now, when to grasp it is to wield the power of 
the Czar, and to lay it down, is, in the language of Dean Stanley, 
"to lay down a sceptre" and be an "ex-sovereign"? Our sys- 
tem elevated an inferior race — this has degraded an equal one. 

Then there is the question of African slavery. 

Self-government, the reduction by ourselves of our own unru- 
liness to order, is far the greatest miracle a moral nature can 
exhibit. It never has been and is not now a quite universal trait, 
but has been, and seems destined for some time to remain, the 
grandeur of an immortal few. The few are our real rulers. 
Robespierre, incorruptible charlatan that he was — an anomaly in 
mountebank breed — was able to see and to say, " La vertu fut 
toujours en minorite sur la terre." The free are the (cw. They 
are, as Cowper says, "Whom the truth makes free." Better for 
Cowper s peace of mind had he seen the correlative of this, 
which Goethe supplies us with "None are so grossly enslaved 
as the\- who falsely believe themselves free." The chosen few 
make the chosen people. 



It was our belief that we had a population within our borders 
which was not capable of self-government; which was dependent 
upon the control and dominion of others. It is a solecism to say 
that a savage can be free. Vou can emancipate him from the 
hand of a superior, but in doing so you hand him over to his 
own vices and incoherences; you "grave the name of freedom 
on a heavier chain." 

Could thirteenth and fifteenth amendments, by the stroke of a 
pen, translate slavery into freedom and self-government, all men 
must rejoice. Great things are not wont to be done with this 
degree of ease, especially this thing. Freedom, like other forms 
of greatness, first takes on itself the form of a servant. The 
transition from slaver)' to freedom is precisely that transition the 
most civilized must pass through, with repeated failure and re- 
peated pain, when he ceases to be the slave of appearance and 
becomes master of himself; performs that highest of moral acts 
— his own self-government. Such transition, unspeakably im- 
portant as it is, in the deepest and truest sense inestimable, is a 
question rather of authentic fact than of any legislation. Legis- 
lation does not yet create. Legislation properly represents. 
We have now, it is said, an emancipated country But how ? 
From fraud, from rings, from well-nigh universal perjury and 
peculation — from these are we emancipated? If the auction of 
slaves is bad, is not the sale of freemen worse? 

Through the streets of the Federal metropolis daily passes a 
black cloud of human beings, handcuffed and guarded (of late 
years caged and driven), despair, or sometimes stolid, even care- 
less indifference, on their faces. These are emancipated slaves on 
their way from the police court to the jail — disenthralled from the 
cuffs of the overseer to be enthralled in the handcuffs of the law. 
Cuffee still! Misguided! Alas! They who so need guidance 
told to guide themselves through a wild welter of crime and vice, 
in the infirmity of idleness and want told to steer themselves by 
their own ignorance. At last the emancipated goes to the magis- 
trate, with more or less directness, saying - "Have me arrested 
in this, for me, impossible task of self-government. Suffer me 
to retire from a world I am unable to master, but which so inva- 
riably masters me, to the religious retreat of criminal classes, 
known as penitentiary, that I, who know not self-control, there, 
at least, may be controlled, be mastered — in that 'divine institu- 
tion' seek repentance carefully, with tears." The negro is not 
called upon to survive in the South the hostility dealt out to the 
Mongolian in San Francisco, by the "Thousand and one," backed 
by the whole power of the State and United States Governments, 
in scorn of treat)' Were this the case, it might be asked: "Is 


it so kind, then, to throw a weak race in competitive, and there- 
fore inimical, relations with a strong one?" But the negro is 
called on to be fit to survive his own inherent infirmities, and 
finds this no easy matter; wherefore the New York Times asks: 
"Are the negroes going the way of the Indian? Are they being 
civilized off the face of the earth?" 

John Randolph once saw a lady making shirts for the Greeks. 
"Madam," said Randolph, "the Greeks are at your doors." 
People who are not content unless they are reforming abuses, 
might often live at home and still be content. Our Roanoke 
statesman is the honored type of the Virginia emancipationist — 
the Washington-Jefferson type — which it may be the future will 
yet hold a wiser and a braver one, than the more vociferous and 
apostrophised kind. 

The spectacle of wrong and wretchedness, the cruelty of nar- 
row minds and narrow hearts all the world over, is sad beyond 
expression. Think of the devoted Pole, taking his everlasting 
farewell of his home, and sent by the crudest of task-masters to 
rot under the lash in the torture-press and poison-press of Sibe- 
rian quicksilver mines. Think of the starving millions in the 
East. Nothing could well be sader. But the most sorrowful to 
each should be the struggle of inadequate natures with imperi- 
ous circumstance at his own door. Think of forty thousand 
vagrant children in the city of New York, destined, the most of 
them, to be thieves and prostitutes before the age of twelve. 
Think of the tenement house misery in the same city, which no 
crusading- fanatics have moved heaven and earth to assuage. 
Think of that house, No. 98 North street, a small one, too, which 
was discovered by the police to contain ninety-nine families, or 
near five hundred people. The surplus sympathies of " the over- 
soul" can find an inexhaustible field in the life of every street 
railway car-driver. In 1226 the titular bishop of Prussia wrote: 
"What is the use of crusading far off in the East, when heathen- 
ism and the kingdom of Satan hangs on our own borders, close 
at hand in the North?" A sermon on the duty of staying at 
home — that is, of attending to one's nearest business, and as the 
very nearest, the circle of one's own breast — might be derived 
from many lives, which had been useful had they not early lost 
all hope of the universe, save by their own undivided attention 
thereto. The dark Hood of human misery swells around the 
bannered barge of the fortunate, whose oars it propels while re- 
ceiving their stroke. Sacred forever are the chosen few who 
have lifted the burdens from the shoulders of the weak by placing 
them on their own; who, in this way, have borne in their own 
persons the transgressions of others; who once crucified, are now 


ascended! Mere on earth they were filled with warm, manly 
poignancy, with soft, feminine pity for the bent forms of poverty 
and pain, the sad faces of the ineffectual, the lives of the broken 
and disconsolate, and those wretched existences which are cra- 
dled in despair, and suckled, one may say, on vice and disease, 
whose penalty they strove to mitigate. Surely they receive the 
mercy they showed. 

Pursue the evils which lie at your own doors — fearlessly strike 
at them. Few are so unprovided but that they, too, may cast in 
their mite to the relief of sorrow and oppression. But see to it 
that the strife and the succor be not for appearance only, and end 
not in substituting the nominal for the actual. The philanthropy 
which has aggrandized itself in the decay and by the decay of 
the honor and conscience of the country, the philanthropy of 
Freedman's Banks and other such, is "suspect to me." Results 
have followed which are wont to happen, when sentimenal self- 
display mimics the great passions. 

It is no true boon when an external power abruptly transforms 
the whole outward circumstance, leaving the tenant of a feebler 
sphere to grapple with the aggregate of forces in a larger one, to 
which he stands in perpetual contradiction and disparity. The 
privilege of self-government to the inadequate, deficient — is that 
such a boon? To give the blind man a rifle and tell him to hunt 
with the hunters for a living! To unyoke the dray-horse and 
bid him God-speed in winning the race from the swift! 

In this wise we reasoned in the years before the war upon 
premises which were none of our choosing, but were forced upon 
us by Old England first and New England afterwards. Twenty- 
three statutes were passed by the House of Burgesses of Vir- 
ginia to prevent the introduction of slaves, and all were nega- 
tived by the British king. It was well said on the floor of the 
Virginia Legislature, by John Thompson Brown, in answer to 
English invective: "They sold us these slaves — they assumed a 
vendor's responsibility — and it is not for them to question the 
validity of our title." Virginia was the first State not only to 
prohibit the slave trade, but to make it punishable with death. 
From her came the chief opposition to the slave trade in the 
convention of 1787 That trade was continued for twenty addi- 
tional years — not by the vote of a "solid South," but a solid New 
England. To New England, too, we might say: "You very 
obligingly sold us your slaves; voted like one man to keep open 
the slave trade; availed yourselves fully of all the prizes of 
that piracy We bought your merchandise; you pocketed our 
money" How much of the elegant leisure to vituperate the 
South has been fed by inheritance of wealth derived from the 


traffic in human flesh which supplied the South! The slave- 
traders of the North said to the slaveholders of the South: 
"You must not interfere with our business for twenty years " ; 
and on this the slave-traders outvoted the slaveholders. Then, 
when their slave contract had expired, the traders said: "Our 
conscience revolts against suffering you to profit by the merchan- 
dise we sold, though it does not in the least revolt against retain- 
ing the money you gave. It is our duty to see that the conside- 
ration do not pass to you, but by no means our duty to relinquish 
that which has passed to us, nor to compensate you for the in- 
jury of which we are the cause." In this transaction my eyes 
refuse to see the superior morals of the slave-traders. 

A writer in the October number of the Atlantic Monthly, for 
1868, dealing with the post-bellum aspect of the negro— one of 
the agents, too, of reconstruction (or, as it might be better called, 
of deconstruction) — has this conclusion: "In short, the higher 
civilization of the Caucassian is gripping the race in many ways, 
and bringing it to sharp trial before its time. This new, varied, 
costly life of freedom — this struggle to be at once like a race 
which has passed through a two thousand years' growth in civ- 
ilization — will unquestionably diminish the productiveness of the 
negro, and will terribly test his vitality. It is doubtless well for 
his chances of existence that his color keeps him a plebeian. 
What judgment, then, shall we pass upon abrupt eman- 
cipation merely with reference to the negro? It is a mighty 
experiment, fraught with as much menace as hope. To the 
white race alone it is a certain and precious boon." And, now, 
can such a perhaps as this, "fraught with as much menace as 
hope " to the black man in the South, vindicate the decimation 
and desolation of the white man ? 

We had a system of society and subordination unencumbered 
by either criminal or pauper class, except in so far as "the sum 
of all villianies" made the sum total of society liable to indict- 
ment — a society exempt from strikes, exempt from tramps, ex- 
empt from the dissension of capital and labor, which, by a dis- 
cipline milder, certainly, than the jail and calls on the President 
for troops, made the inferior element of society orderly, tempe- 
rate, obedient, secure from want, and, with little exception, secure 
from crime; so contented withal, that in the midst of the death- 
grapple of the hands that held the reins, nothing could tempt it 
to insurrection. Rings and their subsidized voices, tramps and 
the tramps' gospel, grew and were fertilized elsewhere. We did 
not by legislative act seek to make negroes free. We did better: 
we kept them from being criminals. Did the South lag behind 
in the race of progress? The philanthropist is the last man who 


should make this a reproach. It was lifting the black man up 
which pulled the white man back. The negro did not carry us, 
but we set him upon his legs. A few months ago the telegraph 
flashed over the land the news that Adam Johnson, sentenced to 
be hung for murder in South Carolina, " insisted upon the son of 
his old master during slavery standing by him to the last." In 
the wide world he could .turn him to no other in that hour. 
Abolitionists and their civilization of scalawags and carpet- 
baggers had brought him to this — the freedom to be hung for 

Let it be admitted that sentimentalism in politics was less con- 
tagious at the South than in some other quarters; that what is 
known and honored as philanthropy struck us as a platform vir- 
tue of the mutual-admiration kind; as such not greatly honora- 
ble, nor by us honored. At no time did the sentiment of Ana- 
charsis Clootz, that "the principles of democracy are of such 
priceless value as to be cheaply purchased by the sacrifice of the 
whole human race," cause a quite universal enthusiasm. Liberty 
which was rhetorical merely was not our forte. We did not be- 
lieve in a nominal republic, which would require large standing 
armies to show free citizens the way to freedom. Libert}' is in 
a curious way which demands a large standing army to drive it 
home and make it rest on the consent of the governed. A bay- 
onet is not such a good thing to set down on, that freedom should 
choose such a roost, or be set down very hard there, without 
sensible annoyance. 

Whether to make of the inferior element a bond slave was the 
absolutely best way, is a question which may now be safely left 
to determine itself by the result of a contrary policy. But that 
to do as our enemy did, make of the inferior element a master, is 
the absolutely worst way, may, without presumption, be asserted 
now and here. If the Southern master had a slave, he had a slave 
whom he protected. If the Southern slave had a master, he had 
a master whom he respected. Moralists hereafter will be sorely 
put to it to account for the well-nigh total absence of revenge, 
malevolence, animosity, on the part of the negro toward his old 
master, if his past was so invariably bitter. Either his forgive- 
ness of injuries is the greatest ever known, or his sense of them 
the least. Let it be said, in his unqualified praise, that of all the 
races, the negro has made the best slave, has been faithful in that 
which is least; a better part, certain!)', than that of being faithless 
in that which is greatest — an accusation which may yet be 
brought against the white race of the country There is hope 
for the negro to-day greater than any which exists for the Indian, 
because the negro is docile, willing to serve and obev and, un- 


like the Indian, could be made a slave of, and be controlled by 
others before being able to control himself; because he has by 
nature the faculty of truly revering that which is higher than 
himself; is not, in self-devouring pride, recusant to it. If now, 
in freedom, he be persevering, diligent, as in slavery he was do- 
cile, tractable! His slavery! Has not that and nothing else 
lifted him from the condition of Airican savage to that of Ameri- 
can freeman, worthy by our law to cast his ballot with the rest, 
which the Chinese, who is not, and since recorded time has not 
been a savage, is not worthy to do ? The negro is to-day an 
American citizen, started in the race of civilization by virtue of 
what, pray? His thousands of years of African freedom, as 
some may term them, or his two hundred years of American 

African liberty! What is it to deprive a man of that? The 
latest intelligence on the subject is that another step toward the 
civilization of Africa has been taken by England in inducing the 
King of Leucalia, a district lying to the southeast of St. Paul de 
Loanda, to enter into an engagement to put a stop to all human 
sacrifices among his people. Suppose, then, that human beings 
who otherwise are given over to the immolation and consump- 
tion of one another, in this kind of honor preferring one another, 
are made bond slaves, halted in their religious and political 
economy, and made to cease to be their brothers' keepers in this 
culinary way, and actually to begin to be useful to themselves 
and others, what great rights of man are the worse for it? No- 
ble, not ignoble, is the dominion of the higher over the lower; 
beautiful the surrender of the lower to the higher, when, with 
pleased recognition of the truth, a soul bows in the presence of 
its master. Hard, indeed, musf be the heart to resist the elo- 
quence which says, "Behold! behold! I am thy servant." Sub- 
ordination of inferior to superior is the supreme social act; all 
else is struggle, contention for society. 

It is one of the anomalies of this great controversy between 
opposing ideas and institutions that, after the North had pro- 
claimed the necessity of amending the constitution to prevent 
social discrimination against the negro in the South, it was re- 
served for a hotel of the State, and a bar association of the city 
of New York, to say to the race of Spinoza, Neander, of Heine 
and Meyerbeer, of Disraeli and Rothschild: "Come not near 
me, for I am holier than thou." 



I must, however, ask you to assume, what is far enough from 
being the case, that these several differences of opinion and 
causes of dispute between the North and South have now been 
treated of in some not wholly disreputable manner; and that, to 
a Southern audience at least (and this is more probable), it has 
been made sufficiently clear that justice was on the side of the 
South in this great controversy I pass on to say that justice, 
too, must be strong. To be weak when you have the power 
to be strong, is itself an injustice. It is written, "Woe to them 
that are at ease in Zion." You who otherwise have right on 
your side must see to it that you have strength on your side, 
else he whose iron is stronger than your gold, whose unscrupu- 
lous force outweighs your legal right, will have judgment entered 
against you. To be entrenched in parchment to the teeth is not 
the whole of law; only a vantage ground for more readily assert- 
ing it. Without prudence, without wakeful alertness, firm, even 
fierce assertion, the mere parchment right is but a castle without 
defenders. The great wall of China seems secure enough, run- 
ning thirteen hundred miles over plain and over mountain; every 
foot of the foundation in solid granite, the structure solid ma- 
sonry. But without a living wall of Chinese men behind it, un- 
constitutional Tartars bound over its "strict construction" as a 
thing of course. "Your strict construction is ultra vires," they 
paradoxically say It is not in the letter of a constitution, it is 
in the heart of a people that freedom is secured, if at all. The 
law protects not them who sleep upon their rights. Make your- 
self strong, soon your right becomes clear. Every man holds his 
own by this tenure. Sleepless enemies lie in wait for all prowess, 
for all endowment, and are held in check by incessant labor, in- 
cessant vigil. A chosen people are surrounded by Philistines, 
and must subdue them or be subdued. 

It is not heaven's will that men should meet together, and 
make a constitution and laws, which may dispense with vigilance 
and self-vindication. No charter of freedom can exonerate from 
this. An outrageous act impends. Men are heard to ask: "Is 
it credible our opponents will be such knaves? Will the)' have 
the audacity to commit an act of such turpitude, such shameless 
subornation?" Why, if you have not the audacity to defend, of 
course they will. The knave is in the world primarily for this 
purpose: to cut the tendons of the paltering when he beats a 
parley. The knave is the abler man. He has the audacity to 
stand up with the right all against him, while the other, with the 


panoply of truth upon him, does not stand up. The latter says, 
in effect: "My moral strength is weaker than your immoral effi- 
cacy " When one set of men have scruples about doing duty, 
and another set have no scruples about violating it, the debate is 
practically ended. You cannot tie red tape around the rights of 
a people, pigeon-hole them, and then, by merely telling the sec- 
retary to produce them at the proper moment, and show that 
they are labeled as you say, have every knee to bow instanter. 
Rights done up in red tape do not amount to much. By tying 
yourselves around them, and them around yourselves; by omit- 
ting, wholly interdicting self-indulgent welcome to the foe, saying 
to snare and illusion, "get thee behind me"; by planting your- 
selves manfully in front of your rights, resolutely and vigilantly 
staying there, your rights become available in time of need. One 
of Mahomet's companions said: "I will unloose my camel and 
commit him to Providence." "Friend," said Mahomet, "tie thy 
camel and commit him to Providence." 

Once, when fertile plains of Italy lay exposed to the hardy 
North, doughty protectionists, bearing their birth-rights on their 
backs, by dint of the sword for circulating medium, entered into 
and enjoyed the opulence which left itself defenceless. See how 
manners change, while the forces under them remain unchanged! 
Behold another stubborn remnant, planted on a frozen soil, and 
far-off harvests and fields of snow; not cold, but warm; at slight-, 
est touch turning to gold. Kings of the Huns are not wanting,, 
though differently accoutred. Their weapons are shrewdness, 
business ability, docility to be taught by experience, aptitude for 
the occasion, and then tenacity, perseverance in advantage, never 
letting go. Aggression, insufficiently opposed, is not slack to 
seize occasion. Old lines of order have been surprised, con- 
fused — their guns reversed against the old defenders. Somebody 
blundered, somebody slept, or worse. Somebody, whose duty it 
was to thrust and parry, failed at the proper time to draw his 
sword. It is not having rights which makes the freeman, but 
knowing and maintaining them. The great victor}' had been 
won before the first shot had been fired of that military victory 
by which the political afterwards was ratified. A four years' 
civil strife chiefly polled and announced the majority which was 
already waiting to be counted. The great victory was won when 
Northern leanness had exchanged itself for Southern fatness; 
when Northern enterprise laid under tribute Southern produce; 
when Northern energy brought the world's commerce to North- 
ern ports, made a frozen coast a chosen coast, to which emigrant 
hosts repair, its highways of traffic, the accepted highways; by 
thrift and industry grew green and golden, studded with bright 


villages, sounding with the whirr of labor in the hum of facto- 
ries and the mart of commerce; when the mechanic, the strong 
arm of the century, dwelt in the North, and the bountiful acres 
of the South poured into his lap a conqueror's booty. The one 
victory of the North was won when, by legislative legerdemain, 
she ranged material force on her side. Here was a country sub- 
ject to a constitution which was supposed to greatly limit the 
objects for which public money could be appropriated — this, 
nevertheless, interpreted and applied by representatives who 
could be approached, influenced, persuaded. Here was the stra- 
tegic point. Acuteness, pertinacity, the long arm and sinewy 
grip of all the athletes of greed and impecunious alertness won 
the day. 

It will never do to forget our own faults in the explanation of 
our misfortunes. It is, indeed, our own faults, which, for our 
own sakes, it especially behooves us to bear in mind. The 
Spanish proverb says: "You must thank yourself if you break 
your leg twice over the same stone." It is well, however, also 
to observe that while he who permits injustice must suffer for it; 
he who commits it does not go without a day. Vainly will you 
expect to hold under the sanctions of law that which has been 
gained by violation of law. Do you choose to thrive at the ex- 
pense of the demoralization of society? Hope not to secure 
yourself as though society were moral. Every victory of man's 
mere avidity is the increase »of his material at the expense of his 
spiritual part. The material accumulation goes on pari passu 
with the moral depletion, so that a whole world arrived at un- 
justly were a whole soul gangrened by the booty. "What is 
there wanting to me?" asked Ugolin, tyrant of Pisa. "Nothing 
but the anger of God." The mean advantage wins the day, to 
be sure; but, in doing so, receives wounds which can never be 
exhibited as honorable scars. Victory, which is composed of a 
stroke under the belt, is as sharp at the hilt as at the point. 

Thus it may be said that class legislation, followed by a war 
of coercion, with the illegal measures to prosecute, and after- 
wards, avowedly, to consummate, have not established justice, 
have not insured the domestic tranquility, have not provided for 
the common defence, nor promoted the general welfare. They 
have not formed a more perfect Union, but a far less perfect one. 
The North was successful in rolling the South in the dust, but 
equally successful in rolling up a seething mass of discontent at 
her own doors. Selfish politicians have accumulated fortunes 
for themselves and their trencher friends, but they have accumu- 
lated under them the American Commune. The American Com- 
mune stands to-day, not by the cradle of American liberty, in- 


deed, but by the side of that more modern cradle which was 
rocked in the torrent of anti-slavery agitation. The spoliation 
of the public seems a clever thing for the nonce, but when high- 
handed jobbery has made a public of tramps and criminal classes 
it is not so clever. 

Without further illustration, it may be stated as a fact, which 
legislators will do well to take note of, that the victim of in- 
justice has ever rising in him the burning sense that he has been 
wronged. A people's sleeping Samson, their staunchness, man- 
hood, rectitude of life and business dealing, all the early, grand 
simplicity of act and counsel, in very wantonness of sleep is 
overborne — first debauched and then shorn of its plume of 
honor. Low aims and "covetousness which is idolatry," the 
Philistines which lie in wait for this modern life, fall upon such 
slumbers swiftly, fatally. In some sort, a triumph of strength, a 
righteous retribution, is meted out then and there, whereby the 
moral power of a land is not only fettered, but blinded. On a 
precarious basis such victory ever rests — victory which demands 
that wrong and fraud, and lies, shall remain stronger than the 
truth and right of things; victory which must hold its own 
against the true forces of society struggling to assert themselves. 
If those forces, roused at last, fall like a thunderbolt, strike back 
in heart-breaking rage, not in strength only, but in blind strength, 
what a dangerous thing for victory ! One law is that the strong- 
est for the time being shall prevail ; another is that for the strong- 
est to continue victor, he must have not only might on his side, 
but right; that is, not one might, but all the mights. 

Thus it is in the game of oppression. While one side gains 
in physical, it loses in moral power; the other, losing in physical 
power, does gain in moral. According to the purely military 
estimate. of Napoleon, the last is to the first as three to one. Thus 
it was in the war between the States. The fact that the odds, so 
long resisted by the South, were more cruel than three to one, 
must always be accepted as the measure of her moral power. 
To her mind it was very clear that she had been first robbed and 
then calumniated; because her feathers were the brightest in the 
plume of her adversary, she had none left to shine in her own. 
The wealth, the factories, the opulent cities of the North, were 
the bright spoil of her fields, which had never been retaliated. 
A political party which named itself "the poor man's friend" 
(Boss Tweed, and other Bosses, have since done the same thing 
on the same basis) was not to our taste. The surgeon of Le 
Sage possessed the talent of turning passengers into patients by 
a single stroke of his poinard, upon whom, however, he was 
then willing to exercise his curative abilities. " Hypocrites," 


says the Talmud, "first steal leather and then make shoes for 
the poor." One possession the South had not parted with — the 
hearts of her children. These were hers only. 

John Brown's raid, and the immense import of a fiasco intrin- 
sically mean, needs not be spoken of here — an armed foray to 
liberate slaves, whereby not a single slave was made insubordi- 
nate ! Wendell Phillips said of him: " He had conquered Vir- 
ginia; made of her a disturbed State, unable to stand on her own 
legs for trembling, had not the vulture of the Union hovered 
over her; proved a slave State to be only fear in the mask of 
despotism. Had a hundred men rallied to him he might have 
marched across the quaking State to Richmond." In the full- 
ness of time a million men rallied to him ; but "marching across, 
the quaking State to Richmond," which was done with so much 
smooth facility on the platform, somewhat lagged in the field. 
"The vulture of the Union" changed sides completely, and still 
the trembling legs did not refuse to stand up with some stoutness. 
"Fear in the mask of despotism" disguised itself with a protracted 
and strange success. 

When every scandal and offence to the South took the offen- 
sive against her — the Morrill tariff, colossal jobbery, which has 
since spanned a continent; defiance of contract, which has since 
rained national banks and paper money, pledged determination to 
raze the foundations of the South and to topple the whole edi- 
fice — it was settled that she could be brought to terms by com- 
plete exhaustion and defeat alone. When superior numbers rose 
againt her, and "false to freedom, sought to quell the free," the 
opportunity was given and seized to prove the honesty of her 
own convictions. The merchant closed his ledger; the clerk 
sprang over his desk; the student threw down his lexicon and 
shouldered a musket; the planter rode his best horse into the 
field; the churches melted their bells into guns, and women their 
jewels into the treasury. A storm of indignation swept over the 
land, in the tension and revolt of which, all the forces of society 
were bent like a bow and recoiled like a bolt. Purer devotion to 
a cause never was beheld. 

It has been said, men make the laws and women make the 
morals. "Laws," says Milton, "are masculine births." It is the 
prerogative of man, seldom as it is availed of, to clothe himself 
in their majesty, and on this earth to be their representative; but 
the history of morals is woman's history — a deeply-important 
fact, if we consider another aphorism: "Men make laws, but we 
live by custom." You recall the sally of Fletcher of Saltoun: 
"I care not who makes the laws of a people, so I make their 
songs." The song is that which floats most directly from the 


heart of a people, and most directly floats back to it again. It 
is the expression of that which is anterior to all laws : the moral 
sense which makes them, and on which they must operate. It 
is the power behind the throne, greater than the throne, which 
makes the Queen of Song of such significance. You lay a hand 
on the pulse of a people when you touch and are touched by 
hers. In no wise, therefore, can it be omitted as a most literal 
fact, that in the discrimination of those times and fates, when the 
customary pilots of society, the priest, the poet, the newspaper 
editor, were so largely merged in the secular arm; when the 
minister of the Gospel fought through all grades, from private 
in the ranks up to Lieutenant-General Commanding; when the 
poet largely had his "headquarters in the saddle"; when the 
editor "associated himself with the staff," and there was nobody 
left to make either the laws or songs of a people in the terrible 
business of waging their wars: the tocsin of war said to woman 
here in the conservative South, "the more than Papal throne of 
public opinion, be that your throne, and be your proper mercy 
and your proper dignity your noblest sceptre." The subtler im- 
pulses of the war fell into her hands, as well as its gentler min- 
istrations. She was the voice of its heart and the interpreter of 
its passion. She staunched the wound and smoothed the pillow. 
She was the minister to the sick and the angel to the dying. 
She wove the banner and device which floated at the head of 
every column. She girded on the harness for the fight, giving 
most proudly where she loved most dearly. Unmitred and un- 
beneficed, she rose the true Pontiff of a Commonwealth. 

In this form, I have thought it worth while to review the con- 
victions actuating us, in a contest which sealed their sincerity. 
That, at least, can never more be questioned; for, though when 
the war broke out, the doctrine of our assailants was, that some 
two hundred and fifty thousand slaveholders maintained such a 
reign of terror at the South, that the remaining population were 
driven into resistance, wherefore a United States army was neces- 
sary in their midst to endow them with free speech ; when the 
war ended, and this same population was not only free to express 
devotion to the Union, but greatly rewarded for doing so, and 
punished for not doing so, the legislation of a Northern Congress 
assumed that their devotion to their cause was such as no mis- 
fortune could impair; that not a man of them could be trusted, 
and that a reign of terror and proscription, undeniable this time, 
must be put over them in consequence ! The strength to do and 
suffer greatly, the strength of Ironsides, can only be had of men 
"knowing what they fight for and loving what they know " To 
embody the just sympathies of men, this it is to be a republic. 


To present those sympathies and that justice in their truest form > 
this is the art of government. A government rests on intelli- 
gence, when intelligence welcomes it as intrinsically noble and 
beneficent. More absolutely than any king, the citizens of such 
a State can say: "The State, it is ourselves, our sword, our hel- 
met, our breastplate, our breast; the nobleness we ourselves have 
made and are made by." The country which is loved is the 
country which is lovely. 

No more compendious statement of the war has been given 
than that of Lord John Russell: "The North is fighting for em- 
pire, the South for independence." To this may added another, 
by our President Davis, in the summer of 1864: "We are not 
fighting for slavery — we are fighting for independence." We 
were not sapping, but supporting the principles of ■ social order; 
fighting for no metaphysical, fighting for practical rights. The 
men of '76, when they spoke of the right of revolution, did not 
mean that it was a wrong, but that it was a right. The men of 
'87 did not mean to make bond and dependent the States, which 
were "and of a right ought to be free and independent." They 
did not organize a system of constitutional warfare between the 
States, but its constitutional prohibition — a government under 
law and constitution; not over it, "outside the constitution." 
The men of 1861 said: "Better to have been subjugated by the 
arms of Great Britain, than by our own Federal compact." The 
present Executive of the United States, on a late tour through 
the country, several times quoted (if the newspapers quote him 
rightly), as coming from Andrew Jackson, the words: "The 
Union, it must and shall be preserved." But Jackson never made 
that speech. What he did say was, "The Federal Union, it must 
be preserved." Ours was the Federal army. In any correct use 
of terms, our assailant was the anti-Federal army Henry Clay, 
in 1836, speaking of the Abolitionists, asked: "Is their purpose 
to appeal to our understandings and actuate our humanity? And 
do they expect to accomplish that purpose by holding us up to 
the scorn, and contempt, and detestation of the free States and 
the whole civilized world? The Abolitionists, let me 

suppose, succeed in their present aim of uniting the inhabitants 
of the free States, as one man against the inhabitants of the slave 
States. Union on the one side will beget union on the other,, 
and this process of reciprocal consolidation will be attended with 
all the violent prejudices, embittered passions, and implacable 
animosities which ever degraded human nature. A virtual dis- 
solution of tLe Union will have taken place, whi'e the forms of 
its existence remain." In 1861 the causes enumerated by Clay 
had produced the anticipated results. The constitution was then 


"marching on" to be operated "outside the constitution, Jwrs la 
loi, as Robespierre would say; and since that time, as we know, 
has been planted definitely "on the side of freedom" — of freedom 
to be violated until impunity ! 


A despairing audience must long since have decided that this 
address is as slow in getting into the Wilderness, as the Children 
of Israel were in getting out of one. But wildernesses abound 
in this world in order that faith may more abound. Sooner or 
later they are arrived at by almost every path — that of this 
association being no exception — which, indeed, least of all was 
to be expected. It has seemed to me that the illustration of the 
foregoing premises might best be found, not in the day of elation 
which closed at Gettysburg; but at the point of depression, ex- 
haustion, and " wearing out by attrition" — the campaign of 1864. 
Since September 22d, 1862, the United States, in the language of 
Mr. Wendell Phillips, "had turned its face Zionward" — that is 
to sa'y, President Lincoln, who one or two days earlier had pro- 
nounced a proclamation of emancipation to be "the Pope's bull 
against the comet"; on the day above mentioned let fly at the 
comet, in the papal and bovine manner he himself described, 
with results which fully justified his first impressions. 

We take up our line of march on the banks of the Rapidan. 
In the name of the river, as in the names Northanna, Southanna, 
Rivanna, Fluvanna, we have preserved once more the kindly- 
affectioned zeal, which Virginia so long retained for the courtly 
and sparkling reign of Anne, making the surface of our soil the 
bark of an old tree, in which the same initials perpetually recur. 

The country about the border line between Orange and Spot- 
sylvania, extending back from the Rapidan, is a dismal region of 
barrens covering rich veins of ore; on the Spotsylvania side more 
especially of iron, on the other of gold — a fact which has written 
itself upon the localities and creeks of the neigoborhood, one of 
which, Mine run, gives the name to the battle which closed the 
previous campaign. The origin of the name goes back to the 
first settlement of the country. When the Knights of the Gol- 
den Horse Shoe set out on their tramontane ride in 17 16, to 
scale the Appalachians and drink his Majesty s health on the 
summit of Mount George (sic jurat trausceiidcrc Monies), the 
journal of their expedition chronicled the following: "At half- 
past two we got the horses; at three we mounted, and at half 
an hour after four we came up with our baggage, at a small river 
three miles on the way, which we call Mine River, because there 


was an appearance of a silver mine by it." In a good sense it 
came to pass afterwards that what glittered was not silver. 

The country is one of gold, but of melancholy, forbidding ex- 
terior. It is as if it said: "My severity is seeming, my bounty 
is real. I hold one of the prizes of life, therefore not to be 
turned up in the first furrow or the first week; the reward of dis- 
crimination, persistency, wise, discriminating method; one of 
the great prizes of life, which cannot be bought simply, but must 
be wrought withal. I carry my frowns on my brow, my beams 
in my breast." It is a country of iron and gold, as it were, of 
gold, and the iron to defend the gold; a fountain of wealth, and 
the mailed hand needful to assure it; a country of untamed 
forest and coppice, presenting an aspect of savagery unchanged 
from the time when the savage was its lord. Endless successions 
of jungle have come and gone, each in turn rotting at the base 
of another like unto itself; as savage hordes, as wild beasts come 
and go; their whole past the dust under their feet. So here the 
foliage of each recurring spring rises out of the mast of all the 
■ autumns packed about the roots — a savage past, which fades as 
the leaf, and is then most useful when turned into manure. All 
the ages of the past lie there, pressed into a few handfuls of 
inorganic mould, feeding the labyrinth of to-day. He who 
wishes to see a district in the heart of the oldest of American 
Commonwealths, which looks as it did when the white man first 
landed on our shores, will find it here. "So thou art Brasse 
without, but Golde within," written under the portrait of Captain 
John Smith, might be written over this portion of the State he 
so greatly helped to found. The last time I saw it, looking back 
from a rise in the road, the mellow gush of a perfect October 
Sabbath was throwing its deep, delicate farewell, at once the 
noblest and the tenderest of the year, over the changing autumn 
leaf; where one might say a perpetual Sabbath reigned, were rest 
mere idleness, and not "the fitting of self to its sphere"; were 
it not "loving and serving the highest and best"; but as it was, 
one might have said that the rest of the Lord poured a ray from 
his halo around the lair of his adversary, making the wrath of 
the Wilderness to praise Him: so that, for the instant, one might 
see, as in creation week, that all is good. The tall, gaunt pines, 
and clumps of pines, rising alternately in light and shadow, 
waved aloft like green peaks and islands in a rolling sea, far as 
the eye could stretch, of autumn glory. 

It must ever be a satisfaction to remember that the same Henry, 

Earl of Southampton, who with one hand lifted up in the East 

■the "Glorious Morning" of a Shakespeare's Sun, with the other 

planted in his "golden face" the tops and meadows of Virginia, 


and poured over both the age of Elizabeth. He was a great 
Henry who was "the tenth muse" to those eternal numbers and 
these pathless wilds: architect of those stirring fortunes, which 
in 1607 planted the Cross at the foot of the falls of James rizer. 
One cannot read now without emotion the verses of the poet 
Drayton, written at the time of embarkation : 

Yon brave, heroic mind?. 
Worthy your country's name. 

That honor still pursue. 
Whilst loitering hinds 
Lurk here at home with shame, 
Go and subdue. 

And cheerfully at sea. 
Success you still entice. 

To get the pearl and gold, 
And ours to hold 
Earth's only paradise. 

But it is the leaf of a century later which I wish to hold up 
for a moment, because there happens to be on it an impression 
of the scenery upon which we are immediately to enter. One 
of the merriest of the narratives of Colonel William Byrd re- 
lates certain journeys of the Sovereign of Westover, called by 
him "A progress to the Mines," which finally drew rein at 
" Colonel Spotswood's enchanted castle," on one side of a Ger- 
manna street, opposite "a Bakers dozen of ruinous Tenements," 
where "so many German Families had dwelt some years ago." 
Only Mrs. Spotswood was at home, "who received her old 
acquaintances with many a gracious smile." "I was carried," he 
writes, "into a room elegantly set off with Pier-Glasses. 
A brace of tame deer ran familiarly about the house, and one of 
them came to stare at me as a stranger. But, unluckily, spying 
his own figure in the glass, he made a spring over the Tea-Table 
that stood under it and shattered the glass to pieces, and falling 
back upon the tea-table made a terrible Fracas among the China. 
But it was worth all the Damage to show the moderation and 
good humor with which she bore this disaster. In the evening 
the noble Colonel came home from his mines, and Mrs. Spots- 
wood's sister, Miss Theky, who had been to meet him en cavalier." 
The next day the visitor was instructed in the mystery of making 
iron, wherein Spotswood had led the way, and was the Tubal 
Cain of Virginia, bein«; the first in North America to erect a fur- 
nace. However, the furnace was still great part of the time, and 


Spotswood said "he was rightly served for committing his affairs 
to a mathematician, whose thoughts were always among the 
stars." Later in the day there was shown a marble fountain, 
"where Miss Theky often sat and bewayled her virginity" — not 
ineffectually, since she left descendants. "At night we drank 
prosperity to all the Colonel's Projects in a Bowl of Rack Punch, 
and then retired to our devotions." The next night the two 
Barons "quitted the threadbare subject of iron, and changed the 
scene to Politics." Spotswood said the "ministry had receded 
from their demand upon New England to raise a standing salary 
for all succeeding Governors, for fear some curious members of 
the House of Commons should inquire how the money was dis- 
posed of that had been raised in the other American colonies for 
the Support of their Governors. He said further, that if 

the Assembly in New England would stand Bluff, he did not see 
how they could be forced to raise money against their will. 
Then the Colonel read me a lecture upon Tar," &c. 

Here was a man who a year later, making a visit to his planta- 
tion, laid off a tract at the Point of Appomattox to be called 
Petersburg, and another at Shoccoe's to be called Richmond, 
supping with another who had erected the first furnace in America ; 
led the first troops over the mountains; who promoted Benjamin 
Franklin to be postmaster of Pennsylvania; a veteran of Blen- 
heim, wounded in the breast there, and afterwards dying on his 
way to take command in the army against Carthagena. Cineas, 
had he stepped in to spend the evening, would have been em- 
barrassed to find Tubal Cain and Triptolemus under the same 
roof. The whole logic of the Revolution was considered by that 
host and guest, as they sat in the September mildness with their 
feet under the mahogony, to teach us what a thing it is conderc 

It is a simple and a grand old day which has come down to us 
from those founders of commonwealths, the knightliest of that 
knightly band — 

"Who rode wir.h Spotswood round the lnnd, 
And rode with Raleigh round the seas"; 

when the planter had his own capital, his own Birmingham, his 
own standing army, his own navigable river, and shipped his 
tobacco at his own doors; when, after the union of England and 
Scotland, the escutcheon of the Colony was quartered with the 
arms of England, France and Ireland, crested by a maiden queen, 
with the motto, "En dat Virgiiua quartam" (before the union 
quintan i)\ when the Atlantic ocean was the Virginia sea in Cap- 


tain Smith's geography, and so exposed in the highly ornamented 
map which has come down from him, with a group of naked 
savages on one side, and, properly 'enough, "Honi soit qui vial y 
pense," on the other. 

One other sentence from this old past, and I am done. "Three 
miles farther," writes Colonel Byrd of his journey forward, "we 
came to the Germanna road, where I quitted the chair and con- 
tinued my journey on horseback. I rode eight miles together 
over a stony road, and had on either side continual poisoned 
Fields, with nothing but saplings growing on them." Here in 
1732 is the description which serves us for to-day. The Lord of 
Westover is gone. His broad empire is gone. All that remains 
of the most accomplished hand and courtly mind, on this side of 
the Atlantic, are these paintings of his pen, around which for- 
ever wantons the merry laughter of a witty lip, giving us the 
best, if not the only picture of the time and of himself, who 
almost was the time. Triptolemus and his gay steeds, with the 
revering slaves who held the stirrup for their lord, have scudded 
to far-off lands ; are clean gone and scattered here as the autumn 
leaf they strode home in. Tubal Cain is gone. The Golden 
Horse-Shoer backed the pale horse in season, and took his fare- 
well ride doubtless in the old knightly fashion. Marlborough's 
veteran has fought his last fight, and, faithful son of the church, 
we will hope received his death wound, too, in the breast. Spots- 
wood's "enchanted caslle," the "gracious smile" which made it so, 
the tame deer, and the pier-glass through which they darted panic 
stricken, as wiser animals have been before and since by a " coun- 
terfeit presentment," are melted into air. The German colony is 
gone. Their ruinous tenements have ceased even to be ruinous. 
The marble fountain and its virginal wail are gone, or at most 
only the wail is left. The banquets are gone. No fiscal Moffett, 
with his monitory bell-punch, had been conceived in 1732, and 
"the Bowl of Rack Punch" has left not a rack behind. But those 
"poisoned Fields" remain. They are the battlefields of the Wil- 
derness, where Spotswood's descendant massed again the iron of 
a people, leading another kind of Horse-Shoe Knights, "red-wat 

Through this country run two principal roads, known as 
the Orange and Fredericksburg turnpike (or more commonly 
Old pike), and south of this the Orange and Fredericksburg 
plank-road. These two roads, about the point of the battlefield, 
run nearly parallel, at a distance varying from two miles and a 
half to two miles and a quarter, but beyond that point converge 
very rapidly, and form a junction at the old Wilderness church, 
some two miles further on. South of the Plank road, and 


diverging from it, where the line of battle ran on the 6th of May, 
some three quarters of a mile, is the roadbed of the then unfin- 
ished Orange and Fredericksburg railroad. Crossing the two 
established highways, and crossing each other so as to make an 
X, are the Germanna plank-road and the Brock road, the former 
running from Germanna ford in a southeasterly direction, and 
constituting, in connection with the latter, the direct road to 
Richmond from Germanna ford. The Cathsrpin road intersects 
the Brock road about eight miles south of the Plank road, at 
Todd's tavern, and connects with the road from Ely's ford at 
Aldrich, two miles southest from Chancellorsville. 

Confederate resistance in the field meant, from the beginning, 
a general's strategy and an army's patience equalizing unequal 
numbers and resources. It meant the show of troops at many 
points; their rapid concentration at a few, even at the expense of 
the exposure of the rest. It meant forced marches, meagre 
•equipment, deficient food and forage. It meant this the first 
year of the war. It meant it more than ever in the last. The 
greatest and best appointed army of modern times, the army 
which marched to Moscow, moving in midsummer through the 
friendly country of Lithuania from the Nieman to the Dwina, a 
distance of some two hundred and fifty miles, in a time which 
made the average rate of travel less than twelve miles a day, lost 
ten thousand horses and nearly one hundred thousand men; left 
a hundred and fifty guns and five hundred caissons at Wilna, and 
twenty-five thousand sick and dying in the hospitals and villages 
of Lithuania. These losses, the bulletin says, arose from "the 
uncertainty, the distresses, the marches and countermarches of the 
troops, their fatigues and sufferances." The want of dry fodder 
for the horses, and the necessity of supporting them upon the 
green crop which was growing in the fields, mowed them down 
in such heaps. Just such marches and countermarches, fatigues, 
and sufferings of the troops, was the price of all Confederate 
achievement. Campaigns in the Valley, battles around Rich- 
mond, sieges of Petersburg, all depended upon this. On the eve 
of his long wrestle with Grant, Lee had to close with forces, not 
only worn and torn by three bloody years, but now pinched by 
famine in the track of armies, a portion of whose strategy was, 
as Sheridan's correspondent boasted of that marauder's opera- 
tions in the Valley, "so to desolate, that a crow flying over 
would have to carry his own rations." 

Three years of such warfare had not told exclusively on one 
side. Immigration, it is true, did much to relieve recruiting in 
the North. At the same time the working classes were becom- 
ing dissatisfied, and dimly perceived that the cost of the struggle 


fell on them in the end, since they who paid it recovered it in 
the prices charged on the necessaries of life. They felt that the 
value of money had fallen more than wages had risen. The 
financier who had matured the "Morrill Tariff," imposing a duty 
of thirty-three per cent, upon all articles of European manufac- 
ture, in May, 1864, proposed to raise the same to sixty-six per 
cent., in order to double the duties. Chase had hitherto suc- 
ceeded in carrying on an expensive war, as it seemed, without 
taxation. He had succeeded in manipulating trade into the spec- 
ulation which thrives upon war. By building up a war business 
upon and by reason of the disorganization of all other business, 
he had created a public policy which owed its success to private 
demoralization. The few taxes he had laid, in the main, had not 
been paid. His excise duties did not prove a success. His in- 
come tax was far from realizing expectations. His main stay 
was paper money — a sword which was sure to pierce the hand 
which leaned on it. Truly it will be good fortune if they who 
drew that sword do not perish by it. At length he had announced 
that five hundred million dollars a year, which he deemed a trifle, 
must be raised from the pockets of the people. In 1864 six per 
cent, gold-bearing bonds brought only fifty per cent, in gold. 
"We will put forth one more effort," said Thaddeus Stevens, "to 
lift our sinking credit by the hair of its head from the sea of 
bankruptcy." t 

A.t the opening of this campaign the Southern prospect was 
sufficiently cheering to men accustomed to peril. The two great 
armies of attack were opposed in the East and the West by 
armies of defence, both determined to dispute, and one not unable 
to become an army of offence and even of invasion. In Louisi- 
ana, on the 8th of April, Banks had been defeated and stampeded 
at Mansfield by General Taylor. There followed a second en- 
counter between the same Generals on the 9th, wherein the 
Northern papers claimed a victory, which, they said, " was marred 
by an order from Banks to retreat." This order, if it was given, 
was so excessively complied with as to result in a flight, in which 
the wounded were abandoned. 

About the same time, General Forrest made repeated and suc- 
cessful attacks upon the posts of the enemy on the Mississippi. 
With no ordinary feeling, I make this passing allusion to one 
who can never hear it. To-night resolutions are read to you in 
commemoration of his life and services. The bold rider is down; 
the swift sabre is quenched. The gray uniform which in life he 
covered with honor now covers the trooper in his grave, also 
with honor. He lies, as it were, wrapt in his own valor. 

In the East, General Hoke, who had been detached from Gene- 


ral Lee's army for the purpose, had captured the town of Ply- 
mouth in North Carolina, and a Confederate ram had sunk three 
iron-clads in Roanoke sound. In addition, a new line of supplies 
had been opened just as all the old ones were closing. The new 
Orleans custom-house drove a traffic in "permits," under which 
goods were conveyed, at a cost of about one-third the invoice of 
the goods, into the Confederate lines. Ordinarily the worst 
charge you can bring against an officer of government is to say 
that he co-operates with those who make money by jobbing in 
the public funds. In a most pernicious way he gives "aid and 
comfort to the enemy " But this New Orleans business heaped 
coals of fire on his head with the face which "good men wear 
who have done a virtuous action." 

But though such gleams of advantage — to longing minds, 
which clutched at gleams as drowning men at straws — did 
brighten the sky, the sky was not a bright one. "Undeniably," 
writes Doctor Mahan, in his History of the War (from official 
records, and giving the data of his computations), "the Union 
armies outnumbered those of the Confederacy, in all cases as 
two, commonly as three, and during the entire period that Gene- 
ral Grant was our Commander-in-Chief, as four to one." The re- 
port of Secretary Stanton shows that on May 1st, 1864, the aggre- 
grate military force of all arms in the service of the United States 
numbered nine hundred and seventy thousand seven hundred and 
ten men, and that on May 1, 1864, there was an available force 
present for duty of six hundred and sixty-two thousand three 
hundred and forty-five, and that of these there were on that day 
under Grant one hundred and forty-one thousand one hundred 
and sixty officers and men; in the neighboring departments of 
Washington, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and the 
middle department at Baltimore, an additional force of one hun- 
dred and thirty-seven thousand six hundred and seventy-two 
men, which Grant could draw upon for his operations in Virginia. 
In the meantime, the draft was enforced, volunteering stimulated 
by high bounties, and in the Northwest hundred days' troops 
ordered out to relieve the troops on garrison and local duty, and 
send them to the front. Orders were given for the movement of 
all the armies not later than the fourth of May Grant's thou- 
sands struck their tents on the night of the third. 

Lee's letters on the threshold of this campaign are the letters 
of one in straits. On the 8th of March, we find him writing to 
Longstreet, then in East Tennessee, that it is simply impossible 
for him to recruit the command of the latter without stripping 
all others; and if horses could be obtained for Longstreet, where 
is forage to come from ? There is none to be had nearer than 


Georgia. It cannot be furnished by the railroad. No, the best 
thing were for Longstreet and Johnston to make a combined 
movement into Middle Tennessee, where forage and provisions 
can be had, cut the armies at Chattanooga and Knoxville in two, 
draw them from these points, and strike at them in succession as 
opportunity offers. Again and again Lee returns to this. 

But if this is not practical, then every preparation should be 
made to meet the approaching storm which will burst upon Vir- 
ginia. Accumulate supplies at Richmond, or at points conve- 
nient, as fast as possible. Notify Beauregard of the transfer of 
troops from Charleston and Fortress Monroe. We shall have to 
glean troops from every quarter. All pleasure travel (think of it 
at such a time !) should cease; everything be devoted to necessary 
wants. Reinforce Johnston from Polk, Mobile, and Beauregard. 
Tell Longstreet to come to me; throw his corps rapidly into the 
Valley to counteract any movement of the enemy in that quarter, 
and be where he can unite with me, or I with him, as circumstances 
require. "Forward Hoke's command," he writes Pickett, "the 
enemy will advance as soon as the roads will permit." Imboden 
and Breckinridge, in the Valley, must be prepared to cross the 
Blue Ridge at a moment's notice. 

We know how Breckinridge did afterwards, like the young and 
old lion, sweep the Valley, and then bound over the mountains to 
the side of Lee, his true place. On April 1 2th Lee writes to the 
President: "My anxiety on the subject of provisions is so great 
that I cannot refrain from expressing it to your Excellency " On 
the 15th he would draw Longstreet and Pickett to him, and 
"move right against the enemy on the Rappahannock. 
But to make this move I must have provisions and forage. I am 
not yet able to call to me the cavalry or artillery." On the 22d 
Longstreet has reached Cobham from East Tennessee. On the 
29th he writes: "I shall be too weak to oppose Meade's army 
without Hoke's and Johnston's brigades." On the 30th scouts 
report that Meade's pontoon trains have advanced south of the 
Rappahannock. One other little sentence has a touch of pathos 
in the sheer simplicity with which it joins events. "The grass is 
springing now." Lee wrote on the 28th of April, "and I am draw- 
ing the cavalry and artillery near to me." 

In this correspondence, thus hastily glanced at, is given the 
outline of an army's urgency; the wide compass of its watch at 
the instant the enemy had couched his spear; the need to decide 
quickly and surely upon different lines of operations and probabil- 
ities of attack; to concentrate in an instant upon the decisive 
points of a theatre of war; to fall with the whole weight of a 
-smaller arm)' upon fractions of a larger one, wherever the}- were 


exposed, which, to be done with the destructiveness of lightning' 
had to be done with the rapidity as well. A good general will 
always say to his troops, as Napoleon did: "I would rather gain 
victory at the expense of your legs than at the price of your 
blood." Here was an army, whose transportation alarmingly 
prognosticated the spavined state, which had to make up in ve- 
locity what it wanted in weight. 

Horace Walpole tells one of his funny stories of a General of 
the Duke of Marlborough, at a dinner with the Lord Mayor. 
An imposing, keenly speculative alderman, who sat next to the 
General, addressed him with "Sir, yours must be a very laborious 
profession." " O, no," replied the General, "we fight about four 
hours in the morning, and two or three after dinner, and then we 
have all the rest of the day to ourselves." But this absurdity 
came near to being the fact of a fight now approaching, ushered in 
in May and ushered out in April following. Our season of rest, 
our long hybernation was over, leaving us anything but replen- 
ished. General Heth has stated, in a late communication to the 
Philadelphia Weekly Times, that at this period (in 1864) "the ra- 
tion of a general officer was double that of a private, and so mea- 
gre was that double supply, that frequently to appease my hunger 
I robbed my horse. What must have been the condition 

of the private" — a problem vastly pleasanter to propound now 
than to solve then. 

But on the 28th of April the grass was springing. Nature was 
recruiting. She too must be pressed into the ranks. Her ways 
of pleasantness and paths of peace, sweet as ever, were announc- 
ing then that the seed-corn of a people was ripe for the harvest 
of death, where men were to fall like grain. Her robe of increase 
was to be our martial cloak. In that fair springtime man seemed 
to say to nature: "Thou must increase, but I must decrease; a 
material world become more and more in this new era, the higher 
and nobler less and less." The notes and shapes of spring had 
come again, the birds were blithe as ever in the branches; the 
skies were bending with old-time kindness overhead ; the blue 
hills of Virginia, to the slopes of which her army stretched, stood 
in their rampart strong and beautiful as ever. Spring, fresh-tinted, 
was glittering once more where, so tragically, all that glittered 
was not gold. Nature was preaching peace and peaceful increase 
on the Rapidan, as elsewhere, when there was no peace there in 
the throat of war. And so General Lee drew the cavalry and 
artillery near to him, since the grass was springing on the 28th 
of .April. 

Mr- Swinton has stated — no doubt with his habitual fidelity to 
the means of information in his reach — that " Lee's armv, at this 


time, numbered fifty -two thousand six hundred and twenty-six 
men of all arms," a statement derived from the monthly returns 
of the Army of Northern Virginia, now at the archive office at 
Washington. General Early is satisfied that General Lee's army 
did not exceed fifty thousand effective men of all arms. General 
Lee has himself stated (page 268 of Personal Reminiscences) that 
the number of effective men under his command on May 4th, 
1864, of all arms, was between forty-five and fifty thousand. His 
right, under Ewell, extended to the mouth of Mine run; the left, 
under Hill, to Liberty Mills. Two divisions of Longstreet were 
encamped in the rear near Gordonsville. The other division, 
under Pickett, which had not accompanied the corps commander 
to the West, had been and continued to be retained near Rich- 
mond. The brigade of Hoke was absent. That of R. D. John- 
ston arrived just in time to take part in the fight of the second 

This army had now to deal with a General who proposed to meet 
the danger of defeat in detail by the altogether simple expedient of 
having more troops everywhere than the Confederates had any- 
where (a plan so simple, that the moment a man of genius men- 
tioned it, every other must have felt mortified at not having 
thought of it himself), and whose generalship was, in his own 
sober second thought, composed after the event, "to hammer con- 
tinuously against the armed force of the enemy and his resources, 
until by mere attrition, if in no other way, there should be nothing 
left to him but an equal submission," &c. Not a bad way, per- 
haps the only way, to conquer freemen, this of "wearing them 
out by attrition"; this of dashing superior numbers, in wave after 
wave, upon freedom's living wall until the last foe has been slain, 
and the dashing troops can hear no sound "save their own dash- 
ings." If in no other way it can be done, then in this one way 
it must be done, until there be "nothing left to him." Grant cer- 
tainly was of this opinion, for when his lieutenant suggested to 
him that he might supplement the programme with a little ma- 
noeuvring, he replied, " I never manoeuvre." 

Credit must be given Grant for his turn for keeping his own 
counsel. He did not succeed in preventing his plans from cross- 
ing to General Lee, the moment they were known definitely to 
himself; but he did succeed, as none of his predecessors had done, 
in keeping them from his own army correspondents. It was not 
until long after this that Wendell Phillips said of him: "As in 
the case of another animal, we took him for a lion until we heard 
his voice." A valuable faculty this of reticence. He who is in- 
capable of this is incapable of even-thing. He who has it, though 
he has nothing else, is capable of something. One of the very 


ablest things Grant ever did was for some years to lock his jaws 
over his tongue. Loquacity does not fight battles, still less does 
it win them. To the thin vapidity of skin-depth, glibness is al- 
most a necessity. The signs are, latterly, that Grant's silence is 
but skin-deep; which again, in his case, is no ordinary thickness. 
Frederick the Great said that if his night-cap knew what was in 
his head he would throw it into the fire. Grant, doubtless, had 
less difficulty in keeping his night-cap from being surprised. 
Many a time, in the campaign "on that line if it took all the 
summer," which by several lines was conducted to the following 
spring, he must have felt himself in the condition of Napoleon, 
when he wrote to his brother Joseph : " You will so manage that 
the Spaniards will not suspect the course I intend to pursue. 
This will not be difficult, for I have not fixed upon it myself." 
The whole hammering and attrition stratagem of massing so 
many troops, that before the enemy could kill them all he would 
be killed himself, with which Grant is now known to have ad- 
vanced from Culpeper Courthouse, enjoys the advantage of hav- 
ing been definitely proclaimed for the first time on the 22d of 
July, 1865, when, on no other rational hypothesis, could Grant's 
series of repulses be wrought into a consistent scheme of victory. 
This is far the most infallible way, both to prepare and to predict. 
In his military life Grant was a reserved, silent man, and deserv- 
edly owed much to that. 

With such a masterpiece of strategy to relieve his brain of, 
after some hesitation as to whether he would cross the Rapidan 
above Lee's left or below his right, the Lieutenant-General de- 
cided on the latter, which he believed would force Lee back to 
Richmond. As late as the 2d of May, Field's division of Long- 
street's corps had been ordered to the north of Gordonsville, to 
meet an expected advance of the enemy by way of Liberty Mills. 
One may easily speculate as to what might have been the result 
to that "Grand Army," if it had dared to try a flank, which for 
once would have separated it from gunboats and navigable rivers. 
But, more judiciously, Germanna ford, which was some ten or 
twelve miles below our right, was seized on the night of the 3d 
of May, and under starlight of the 4th Grant moved for the 
lower fords. 

The reorganized Army of the Potomac consisted of the Second, 
Fifth and Sixth corps, under Hancock, Warren and Sedgwick, 
respectively, who reported immediately to General Meade. Each 
corps consisted of four divisions. The cavalry, numbering over 
ten thousand sabres, had been placed under Sheridan. The 
Ninth corps, under Burnside, reported immediately to Grant, and 
also comprised four divisions. The advance to the Rapidan was 
made in two columns. 


Under the soft light of the stars, bright glancing from the arms 
of a host countless as the stars, the grand army is launched into 
the night. Deep in the sands of the Rapidan is the heavy tramp 
of two columns, as the sands for number. Ah! in that deep 
night into which they march what dreams may come! into that 
deep silence what a roar burst! and those heavenly fires, soft- 
glancing now in the great deep, like light-house lamps, be the 
last bright thing which many a shipwrecked man shall see! 

Warren's corps, preceded by Wilson's cavalry division, and 
forming the advance of the right column, moved from the neigh- 
borhood of Culpeper Courthouse at midnight; reached Ger- 
manna ford by six o'clock on the morning of the 4th ; by one 
o'clock was completely over, and marching six miles, bivouacked 
near Old Wilderness tavern, at the intersection of the Germanna 
Ford road with the Orange and Fredericksburg turnpike. The 
cavalry was properly disposed to prevent surprise. Sedgwick 
followed Warren in the afternoon, and encamped close to the 
river. Hancock, who led the left column, broke up camp, near 
Stevensburg, advanced to Ely's ford, six miles lower down, pre- 
ceded by Gregg's division of cavalry, and by nine, on the morn- 
ing of the 4th, had pushed forward to Chancellorsville, five miles 
east of the Old Wilderness tavern, and two miles east of the 
junction of the Plank road and Old turnpike The cavalry was 
thrown out towards Fredericksburg and Todd's tavern. 

Burnside's orders were to hold Culpeper Courthouse for twenty- 
four hours, and then follow the other corps. The morning of 
the 5th found Grant with a hundred thousand men across the 
Rapidan, and nearer to Richmond than Lee, on the direct road 
from Germanna ford. 

Meade's orders for May 5th, 1864, were for Sheridan to move 
with Gregg's and Torbert's divisions against the Confederate 
cavalry, in the direction of Hamilton's crossing; Wilson, with 
the Third cavalry division, to move at 5 A. M. to Craig's meet- 
ing-house, on the Catharpin road; Hancock, at the same hour, 
to take up his line of march for Shady Grove church (on the 
Catharpin), and extend his right towards the Fifth corps, at 
Parker's store; Warren is simultaneously to head for this same 
Parker's store, on the Plank road, and extend his right towards 
the Sixth corps at Old Wilderness tavern. To the last mentioned 
point Sedgwick is to move so soon as the road is clear. Shady 
Grove church is two miles east of a road which connects the 
Catharpin with the Plank road at Parker's store. After first 
throwing out Griffin's division to the west, on the turnpike, to 
protect Sedgwick, who was to come up after him on the morning 
of the 5th, Warren pointed his van in conformity to orders. But 


as Crawford, whose division was leading, approached the store,, 
he met the cavalry retreating before a hostile column which was 
pressing down the Plank road. In the meantime, Griffin reported 
a Confederate force on the turnpike. This was about 8 o'clock 
in the morning. Grant and Meade were riding, and pleasantly 
chatting, with their staff officers, on the road to Old Wilderness 
tavern, when a message to this effect was received. An hour 
later Meade was saying to Warren: "The enemy have left a 
division to fool us here, while they concentrate and prepare a 
position towards the Northanna; and what I want is to prevent 
those fellows from getting back to Mine run." Orders were, 
therefore, given to Warren "to brush away or capture the force 
in his front." But Warren had stumbled on some other game 
than a fox which had taken to the cover. Lee had fallen back 
in the wrong direction. He had retreated north. Moreover, he 
was not "fooling." His broad-shouldered dead-lift intended the 
opposite. He meant a strain from " spur to plume." He was 
rushing, fast as spavined transportation could carry him, to seize 
his antagonist by the throat; and the hand which was raised to 
brush him away, fell shattered. 

Most children have hung with delight over that wonderful 
shrewdness of William Wallace, who, -when he was on one side 
of the river Forth, and the Earl of Warren on the other, dared 
the latter to cross; and who, when the Warren of that day. 
contrary to his own judgment, was pushed into doing so by 
Cressingham the Treasurer, coolly waited until one-half of the 
English had crossed the bridge, and then, charging with his 
whole army, routed the Earl. But in modern times, with or 
without bridges, rivers are no insuperable barrier. The Danube 
is navigable as far as Ulm, and along its navigable length varies 
in width, from seven hundred and sixty to upwards of two thou 
sand yards, and so varies in depth, in the course of twenty-four 
hours, as to baffle the pilots of its steamers. But at Wagram, 
between the hours of three and six in the morning, Napoleon 
crossed from the southern to the northern bank with an army of 
one hundred and fifty thousand infantry, thirty thousand cavalry, 
and six hundred pieces of artillery, while the Archduke Charles 
was furiously (as he supposed) repulsing him above. The mod- 
ern invader has a portable bridge, which he can throw down, at 
whatever point of crossing he may choose, and then, by concen- 
trating a sufficient weight of metal at that point, can render it 
impossible to dispute effectively his passage. Accordingly, at the 
first battle of Fredericksburg, and afterwards, General Lee chose 
rather to select positions, with a view to resist the advance of the 
enemy, than incur the loss which would attend an attempt to. 
prevent his crossing. 


; I3 

On May 3d it was known that the Northern army was about 
to abandon its winter quarters and move as it did. Orders were 
issued that day to the troops to be prepared with three days' 
cooked rations (which a special Providence gave them to pre- 
pare), and Grant had hardly begun to march, before Lee began 
his countermarch. Signal fires blazing southward from Clarke's 
mountain beat the wardrum of that long roll, not in sound, but 
in light. The scene survives with especial vividness in my mem- 
ory, because the battery of which I was a member, and which 
during the winter had been on picket, suddenly marched out and 
halted on the side of the road, greeted in succession the hurry- 
ing commands, while waiting for its own to arrive. It was an 
army of comrades which was marching there, where each com- 
mand had familiar faces for each other. Playmates of boyhood, 
schoolmates of peace, host and guest of other days, recognized 
one another, and brothers and old friends shook hands, once 
more, to shake hands no more on earth. We were marching 
that morning to fight for freedom and society To fight on the 
side of the true cause of mankind we were marching there; 
against the rage of untried speculation; against invasion to sub- 
vert the frame and order of a commonwealth, by the corruption 
of the lower with the spoliation of the higher; against invasion, 
which was none the less vindictive that it named itself friendship 
for the human race. We were the few against the many, and Ave 
knew it as we marched that morning — happy that we, too, were 
to be seen in honor's ranks — " we few, we happy few, we band of 
brothers." The cheer which rang out, the historic Rebel cheer, 
was no longer the cheer of sanguine invincibility, which echoed 
for the last time on the slopes of Cemetery hill, but something 
which went deeper — a yell of defiance from men who had cause 
to fear, and for themselves defied the worst. 

Leaving Early's division and Ramseur's brigade to watch the 
fords of the Rapidan, Ewell, whose corps consisted of Early, 
Johnson and Rodes (in all fourteen thousand men, Early says), 
crossed Mine run, moving on the Orange and Fredericksburg 
turnpike, and camped on the afternoon of the 4th at Locust 
Grove, about five miles west of Old Wilderness tavern. At 8 
o'clock in the morning, Grant was counting that the orders which 
had been given would carry his army clear across the Wilder- 
ness by the evening of the 5th. At that very .instant, Lee's left 
hand was feeling through the jungle for the collar of his ad- 
versary, while his right was lifted to deal his heaviest blow 
Heth and Wilcox moved down the Plank road and bivouacked 
the evening of the 4th, Heth at Mine run and Wilcox at Vidiers- 
ville. These two divisions numbered fourteen thousand men. 


Anderson's division of Hill's corps was left at Orange Court- 
house to protect our trains and secure our rear, with instructions, 
as soon as it was ascertained there would be no movement on 
the part of the enemy in the direction of the Courthouse, to join 
the corps. Longstreet, marching from Gordonsville, was put in 
motion on a road which led into the Catharpin. On the ] 6th of 
April, Lee had written to General Bragg: "The brigades in 
motion with General Longstreet will amount to about nine thou- 
sand men." The head of Ewell's column had advanced rather 
more than half the distance from Locust Grove to Old Wilder- 
ness tavern, and was just in advance of the point where a road 
diverges to the Germanna Ford road, when the enemy, in heavy 
force, was encountered. It was Warren and his brush. On the 
side of Ewell, Jones' brigade of Johnson's division and Battle's 
brigade of Rodes' division received the attack of these troops, 
and were driven back in confusion by it. The Second Virginia 
brigade was broken and Jones himself killed in endeavoring to 
rally it — "the gallant J. M. Jones," as General Lee called him in 
his dispatch — who, together with his aid, Lieutenant Early, pre- 
ferred death to retreat in that supreme emergency. The brigade 
had been placed on the crest of a gentle slope, its right resting 
on the turnpike, Battle supported it on the right — both swept 
away This was Ewell's van, all that had come up, which was 
faring thus badly 

Of the five brigades composing Rodes' division — Battle's, 
Dole's, Ramseur's, Daniel's, and R. D. Johnston's — the latter had 
been sent to Hanover Junction, some time before, to prevent a cav- 
alry raid, and was still absent. Ramseur had been on picket at 
Morton's ford, and had not yet rejoined his command. Battle 
had just given way; but the brigades of Daniel and Doles imme- 
diately formed, and dashed with such vigor on the enemy as to 
arrest and, for the moment, stagger him with an unexpected blow 
Ewell, riding back to hurry up his troops, one-legged as he was, 
fairly rose in his stirrups as he met Gordon riding ahead on his 
black charger, and knew that Early, the stout old Roman, was be- 
hind. "The fate of the army depends on you, General Gordon," 
he said. Gordon is said to have replied: "We will save the day. ' 
or words to that effect; but, what is of more importance, in acts 
to that effect he did give such a reply Filing to the left in the 
pine thicket he halted, fronted, and led a countercharge, which, 
in conjunction with Daniel and Doles, broke through the enemy's 
advancing line, and Gordon swept to the rear. The fight was thus 
proceeding when Ramseur came up, and the right being extended 
by Gordon and himself, an advance was made, and Warren was 
forced back at all points. Ayres' brigade of regulars, on the right 


of Griffin, who had formed across the turnpike, was driven back 
by our left, carrying Bartlett's brigade with it, and leaving two 
guns which had been advanced on the turnpike to take advan- 
tage of the first success. Wadsworth, in moving to the left of 
Griffin, instead of taking a course due west from the Lacy house, 
which would have brought him on the prolongation of Griffin's 
line, started facing northwest, so that when he came up his line 
of battle faced the turnpike almost at right angles to Ewell's, 
which came square upon Wadsworth's flank with a destructive 
fire, throwing it back in confusion. McCandliss' brigade of Craw- 
ford's division, which was to the left of Wadsworth, was sur- 
rounded and driven from the field, with the loss of two whole 
regiments. Warren had designed that the left of the Sixth corps 
should sustain his own right; but the woods in their jungle 
fought against Warren. 

Our extreme left, occupied by the Stonewall brigade, was at one 
time overlapped by the enemy. The personal gallantry and skill 
of Colonel W W Randolph, of the Second Virginia regiment, sec- 
onding the conspicuous efforts of the brigade commander (General 
Walker) prevented disaster here. Later in the day the tall form 
of Randulph and all the courage it contained was laid low. Gen- 
eral Stafford, of the Louisiana brigade, was also killed. After the 
enemy had been repulsed Hays' brigade, and still later Pegram's, 
was sent by Early to Johnson's left. The latter, just before night, 
sustained and repulsed a heavy attack, in which Pegram received 
a wound which must have been severe, since for some months it 
detained that officer from the field. At the close of the day 
Ewell's corps had captured over a thousand prisoners, besides 
inflicting on the enemy very heavy losses in killed and wounded, 
and capturing two pieces of artillery. Gordon occupied the posi- 
tion he had gained on the right till after dark, when he was with- 
drawn to the extreme left. Early's division — comprising, in the 
absence of Hoke, the brigades of Gordon, Hays and Pegram — 
was now on the left of the road diverging from the turnpike, in 
extension of Johnson's line. Rodes occupied the ground he had 
won, his left resting on the turnpike in contact with Johnson, and 
his right in the air, A. P Hill being at some unknown distance. 
Pearly in the morning of the 5th, A. P Hill's two divisions had 
resumed their march, Heth leading. They soon encountered the 
enemy's skirmishers — dismounted cavalry A regiment was de- 
ployed on either side of the road, and heavy skirmishing con- 
tinued until a point was reached on the Plank road, about half a 
mile west of where it crosses the lirock road at right angles, at 
which the enemy refused to be driven any farther by our skirmish 
line. At this point Heth deployed his division, as it came up, in 


line of battle — three brigades to the right, one to the left, of the 
Plank road and perpendicular to it. Could Lee interpose the 
head of his column between Hancock and the remainder of Grant's 
army, while Lonstreet, moving on the Cartharpin, has something 
to say to Hancock! But it was not to be in any part. Spavined 
transportation had missed the junction of the two roads by half a 
mile, and Hancock had hastily returned by the Brock road, in- 
stead of marching forward on the Catharpin and hearing from 
Longstreet as was our preference. 

Hancock, whose four divisions — commanded by Barlow, Gib- 
bon, Birney and Mott — numbered, at lowest calculation, twenty- 
seven thousand men, bivouacked at Chancellorsville, as we have 
seen. On the morning of the 5th he had advanced about two 
miles beyond Todd's tavern, when, at 9 A. M., he received a dis- 
patch from Meade to halt, as the enemy were in some force on the 
Wilderness turnpike. Two hours later he was directed to move 
his command up on the Brock road, to its intersection with the 
Orange plank-road. Hancock rode ahead, found Getty's com- 
mand in line of battle on the Brock road, his left resting near the 
junction. At 2 P M. Birney joined Getty, and formed on his left 
in two lines of battle. Mott and Gibbon came up rapidly, and 
took their position on Birney's left, in the same formation. Bar- 
low — with the exception of Frank's brigade, which was stationed 
at the junction of the Brock road and the road leading to the 
Catharpin furnaces — held the left of the line, and was thrown for- 
ward on some high, clear ground in front of the Brock road. 
Hancock directed all the artillery of his command, with the ex- 
ception of Dorr's Maine battery and onte section of Ricketts', to 
be placed in position. Dorr's battery was placed in position in 
the second line of battle, near the left of Mott, and the section of 
Ricketts' was sent to Getty on the Plank road. Immediately upon 
going into position the division commanders were directed to erect 
breastworks, which they did. The second line of battle threw up 
breastworks in rear of the first, and subsequently a third line was 
constructed in rear of the Third and Fourth divisions. At 2:30 
P M. Hancock received a dispatch from the chief of staff of the 
army telling him that a portion of A. P Hill's corps was moving 
down the Plank road, had driven back the cavalry from Parker's, 
and directing him to unite with Getty in driving back A. P Hill 
beyond that point; then to occupy it and unite with Warren's 
left, which was said to extend from the right to within one and a 
half miles of the Plank road in the vicinity of the store. Between 
three and four o'clock he was ordered to attack with Getty's com- 
mand, supporting the advance with his whole corps. At 4:15 P. 
M. Getty moved forward, and at once became hotly engaged. 


Finding that Getty had met the enemy in force, the divisions of 
Birney and Mott immediately moved forward on his right and 
left. At 4:30 P M. Carroll's brigade of Gibbon's division ad- 
vanced to the support of Getty's right. A few minutes later 
Owen's brigade of Gibbon's division, and still later the Irish bri- 
gade and the Fourth brigade of Barlow's division went into action 
and attacked vigorously The section of Ricketts' battery on the 
Plank road was captured and recaptured. 

The advances and attacks just narrated, not having been trans- 
acted in the depths of the forest merely for scenic effect, it will 
be surmised, did not alight quite like a spent ball on our own 
troops. About half-past three o'clock, or a little later, Lee had 
sent an officer of his staff (Colonel Marshall) to Heth with this 
message: " General Lee directs me to say that it is very important 
for him to have possession of the Brock road, and wishes you to 
take that position, provided you can do so without bringing on a 
general engagement." Heth replied, in effect, that the only way 
to find out whether it would or would not bring on a general en- 
gagement, was to make the attempt to take the position, which he 
would make if desired. Before a reply could be received he was 
himself attacked with great fury. We had not thrown up the usual 
impromptu breastworks ; we were in a body of woods, studded 
thick with heavy undergrowth. The enemy was, for the first 
time, fully disclosed when within about ninety yards. He was 
driven back. So soon as the first attacking column could be 
cleared away, a second column advanced to share the fate of the 
first. A third, a fourth, a fifth advanced. These assaults were 
well prepared and well delivered. They were not victorious, but 
no one can say they were ineffectual. The equal fierceness of 
brave men was locked in those lonely shadows. The issue had 
■come to this simple one: who can stand most killing? On one 
side of such an issue, Heth, with not quite seven thousand mus- 
kets, held at bay for nearly two hours, Hancock and Getty, Han- 
cock alone having twenty- seven thousand muskets, and support- 
ing the attack with his whole corps. I say Heth, it should be 
Heth and his brigade commanders — his brigade commanders and 
the men they commanded — all welded into one fierce sword, 
whose handle rested in Heth's grasp, and whose temper it may 
well be his pride to have matched with his own. The brigade 
commanders were Colonel J. M. Stone, Brigadier-General John 
R. Cooke, Brigadier-General H. H. Walker, and Brigadier-Gene- 
ral \Y W Kirkland. The names of the men the}' commanded 
I cannot give you. 

When the head of Hill's column had been brought to a halt, 
and there was reason to believe that a strong force was in his 


front, which a strong skirmish line could no longer drive, Lee 
naturally felt uneasiness, at the separation of the two corps of 
his army, and the uncertainty of the distance separating them. 
He, therefore, ordered Wilcox, who came up after Heth, to move 
through the woods towards the Old turnpike, and open commu- 
nication with Ewell. Wilcox, after advancing through the forest 
nearly half a mile, came to a field of about that width, and at a 
house several hundred, yards in front saw a small party of the 
enemy Thirty or forty were captured — several officers among 
the number. From this house was a good view of the Old Wil- 
derness tavern, and the enemy could be seen distinctly near it. 
This fact was reported to General Lee. Leaving two of his bri- 
gades (McGowan s and Scales') in the woods near the field, and 
reporting this also, Wilcox pressed forward in search of Ewell's 
right. Having crossed Wildnerness run and reached the woods 
beyond, in a field to the right and front, the right of Gordon's 
brigade, the extreme right of Ewell's corps, was found. Wilcox 
rode up to Gordon, but had barely spoken to him when a volley 
of musketry was heard in the woods, into which his brigades had 
entered but a few minutes before. Riding rapidly to the woods, 
he was met by a courier from General Lee, with orders to return 
at once to the Plank road, in consequence of the attack on Heth 
by the enemy, believed to be in great force. The brigades were 
recalled at once, and brought back with them some three hun- 
dred prisoners. While recrossing the open field, the enemy were 
seen again, this time moving towards the Plank road in the direc- 
tion of the musketry, then raging furiously. McGowan's bri- 
gade had already been ordered into the fight. Scales was in the 
act of moving forward to take position on the right of the road, 
where the firing was heaviest. The great interval was now left 
to take care of itself. 

A Missouri newspaper asserts that hogs are so fat in Missouri, 
that, in order to find out where their heads are, it is necessary to 
make them squeal, and then judge by the sound. Heads and 
fronts of offending were judged of by similar methods that after- 
noon. It was a battle in a tangled chaparral of scrub oaks and 
chinquapins. Only at short distances the troops engaged could 
be seen. The rattle of musketry was the message, as to where 
the struggle was severest, and the reinforcing brigades most 
needed. Thus guided, the third brigade of Wilcox (Thomas') 
went in, on the left of the road, to take position on Heth s left. 
Thomas reported the enemy in Heth's rear, became engaged at 
once, and fought in line parallel with the road. Nelson, in the 
Bay of Aboukir, told his sea giants, that if, in the foaming wres- 
tle of sea monsters and ocean gods, in which thev were about to 


grapple, any should be troubled with misgivings as to the pre- 
cise orders of the day, he would find an easy way out of his 
embarrassment, by simply closing with an enemy's ship — a sea- 
god's order, which applies to all sea fights before and since; to 
land fights also; to life itself, indeed, whose great order for every 
day is to close with the enemy's ship, and sink it, if such a thing 
can be done. It was the one order which stood any chance of 
fulfillment in the blind foam and wrestle of the Wilderness. Bri- 
gade after brigade was led into its depths with but one sure 
knowledge — to resist the enemy, whether he was in front, whether 
he was on the flank, whether he was in the rear, and to keep on 
resisting. Right royally, with a monarch's disdain, as of a mon- 
arch on a burning, sinking throne, the sun went down upon their 
wrath, in the vapors of that 5th of May. His rich handfuls of 
crimson and gold fell among the vapors. For he went down red ; 
a warrior breathing his last, and shaming the foe ere he expire, 
with the grand scorn of a splendid eye. And many a warrior 
went down with him. The South was one day to go down like 
him. Placid, stately clouds played upon and lit up with noble, 
beautiful expression, sailed tranquilly over, making the face of 
things, like the great face of a strong mind, beneath which great 
passions are raging. Just at nightfall the enemy made a supreme 
effort to crush our right. Scales brigade was bent back almost 
at right angles to the line. To hold Scales in place Hill must 
send for his last brigade. His chief of staff, Colonel Palmer, 
finds this on the point of going in under Wilcox, further to the 
left, where, undoubtedly, it was needed. But promptly it is now 
brought to the extreme right, where it is more needed. The 
musketry unloosed by this brigade, as it went in, reverberated 
through the woods as if it might be the ordnance of a fresh 
"Grand Army" As Colonel Palmer was returning to the road, 
after the brigade was well under fire, he met Stuart and Colonel 
Venable sitting on their horses. One of them exclaimed: "If 
night would only come!" "It is Lanes brigade going in," said 
Colonel Palmer; "I feel assured the right will be held until 
night," and Colonel Venable rode off to say as much to the 

All this time the interval between Lwell and Hill had been 
left to take care of itself, which it managed to do with marked 
ability. There was Grant's — there, at least, was a general's — 
opportunity One body suddenly emerges about two hundred 
yards from where Lee, Stuart and Hill are dismounted and lying 
down. If they will but come on swiftly, the General of the army, 
the General of the corps, and the General of the cavalry are their 
prisoners. The officer in command, it turns out, is as much 


amazed as the officers he has surprised; chooses rather to be 
swift in the opposite direction, and as the Confederate Generals 
jump and mount in hot haste, gives the command "right about," 
and disappears in the timber. This was, indeed, early in the day; 
perhaps before a shot had been fired in the battle on the right. 
Almost immediately Heth's men were thrown forward. But 
through the day detachment after detachment of the enemy 
stumbled upon and stumbled through the interval. It was only 
necessary to do, in force and by direction, what was done by 
accident and in detachment, and the Confederate line would have 
been hopelessly cut in two. It was such an opportunity as this 
which Napoleon seized on the plains of Olmutz, when Soult, at 
the head of the French right wing, rushed forward upon the 
interval between the Austro-Russian centre and left, and, inter- 
secting their line, severed the left wing entirely from the centre. 
The Sun of Austerlitz burned on his glowing axle as that was 
done. Just as Lane's brigade went in, the enemy came through 
this interval once more. We had no reserves, no forlorn hope 
left. The whole army was the forlorn hope. The Fifth Alabama 
battalion, the provost guard of Hill's corps, then guarding pris- 
oners, and numbering about a hundred men, was all that was 
available to meet this emergency. With a thin line they held 
whatever was in front of them. 

Night came at last. To battle as to other things it does come. 
To the stiffened sinew, to the galled shoulder, to the bleeding feet 
and beating heart, it comes. But it did not come till after eight 
o'clock on that 5th of May. When night put an end to the long 
strain, the two divisions on our right sank down exhausted. 
Where the}- fought there they sank down. And well they might 
lie down to the warrior's sleep upon the warrior's bed. Brave 
men had marched against them, strong men been driven back. 
From the beginning of the war to the end, no more stubborn 
fight was made, against a force so well directed and overwhelm- 
ing, than this which Heth and Wilcox made. Forty thousand 
men under Hancock had been launched against them and resisted, 
not without fearful inroads on their own line, if line it could now 
be called. The right and left were bent almost at right angles 
to the front, while the front was at every imaginary angle. The 
troops of the enemy going for water would walk into our lines, 
and our men into theirs. Brigades and regiments crossed each 
other. Some brigades of Heth's division were on the right, 
some on the left of the Plank road. Some presented a flank to 
the enemy, others a front. The alternate charges and repulses 
of a battle in the night, and that night in the Wilderness, had so 
confused them. 


Just back of Heth s line on the left of the Plank road was an 
open field (the same in which Lee and his Generals were so near 
to capture), some seventy-five acres in extent, and running from 
east to west, perhaps, five hundred yards. In this field Hill had 
directed guns of Poagues and Mcintosh's battalions to be put 
in battery. A few sticks kindled near the gun nearest the road 
marked the headquarters of the corps. Thither very speedily 
Heth came to report the position and condition of the troops and 
to ask permission for Wilcox and himself to fall back in order 
to rectify their lines, since the proximity of the opposing army 
prevented a forward movement for that purpose. As the divisions 
were situated, at the order to fire they were exposed to the 
danger of firing into each other. "A thin skirmish line," said 
Heth, "can whip them as they are." But Hill said: "No, I will 
not have the men disturbed. Let them rest as they are. It is 
not intended they shall fight to-morrow. Longstreet is now at 
Mine run. General Lee has ordered him to move at 12 o'clock 
to-night. He has only eight miles to march. He will be here 
long before day. He will form in line back of you and Wilcox. 
Your divisions will fall back through Longstreet's." Wilcox 
went to Lee himself to represent the condition of his command. 
Lee no sooner saw him than he said: "A note has been received 
from Anderson saying he will bivouac at Vidiersville to-night,, 
but I have ordered him forward. He and Longstreet will both 
be up and in position before or by daylight, when you will be 
relieved." Under this impression Wilcox returned without hav- 
ing asked permission to withdraw. " Let the men rest for the 
night," Hill had said — the wearied, hard-fought men; the much 
indented Heth- Wilcox sword, hacked and gashed with its own 
hard hewing, and bent back now to the very hilt, with hard blows 
given and received. Hill did not believe it practicable, in the 
disorder in which the action had left the troops, to reform his 
line in the woods and serve ammunition before daylight. 


On the 5th the word had been, " If night will only come!" 
On the 6th it was, "If morning will only stay!" Longstreet 
must be there, or defeat will be there. You remember how the 
lull between the bloody work of one day and the approximation 
of another is a thing of asperity The stars -glance down with 
keen, in adversity it seems, a bitter brightness. Voices of the 
night, the loves of happy, the pulse of tender creatures, fall like 
a mockery of the impending storm. The kindness of the dews 
becomes unkind to the soldier turning on the pillow of his 
bended arm. 


Early in the morning, Ewell rode over (probably had been 
sent for) to see Lee. The latter was seated on an army blanket 
spread on the ground, and in this primitive fashion held his 
divan. Some disturbance breaking out at a distance to the left, 
Lieutenant Bunvell, who accompanied Ewell, is sent to find out 
what it is. On the return of the latter, he discovers that, in 
riding rapidly through the woods, he has lost his saddle blanket, 
and bestirs himself to pick up some substitute therefor. The 
instant the action caught the eye of Lee, he sprang up, and 
offered the blanket on which he had been sitting, which, however, 
was respectfully declined. "The inborn courtesy of the man, 
which no preoccupation of mind could make him forget for a 
moment, and the simple-hearted kindness of the action," writes 
my correspondent, " made a very deep impression on me, and I 
have never forgotten the scene." The ability to maintain the 
dignity, while putting aside all the pomp and circumstance of a 
position, seems to me to be passing away with the older school 
of Virginia gentlemen. This, however, I have always remarked 
in General Lee's character as written, and as shown the few times 
I was in his presence." 

It is a scene which deserves to make a deep impression on the 
country of Lee, and never to be forgotten. I give this picture 
of the early morn, as a ray of night fallen in the darkness; the 
peep of a chivalric day shining in the manner of its captain — the 
thoughtful, courteous grace of a commanding mind. No foe too 
mighty for his prowess, no back too humble for his pity The 
galled shoulder shall have his own blanket, if there be no other — 
the wide, capacious breast, filling with sympathy for the humblest 
sorrow, even when in act to shoulder himself the galling weight 
of war, with "the blanket of the dark," his one blanket; that 
now worn quite threadbare. The true knight is here. " No 
preoccupation of mind" suffers it to be obscure. The dark 
ground and night are a foil for its beauty. Let prosperity seize 
one by nature "bound in shallows," and bearing him on a tide 
""taken at the flood," clothe him in purple, throne him in empire, 
place a sceptre of absolute dominion in his hand, and still base- 
ness will show by the familiarity of its approach, how little that 
satrap is king of men. On the other hand, take Robert E. Lee, 
strip him of house and home, dress him in the soldier's weather- 
beaten rag, seat him on a fence-rail or the ground, and the am- 
bassadors of the mightiest king will do homage in his presence. 
Could we but once more have such a mirror of the South! 
What if this "little touch of Harry in the night" define our own 

Early on the morning of the 6th, lEirnside's Ninth corps 


arrived on the field. This included the divisions of Stevenson, 
Potter, Wilcox and Ferrero; the Provisional brigade under Colo- 
nel Marshall ; the reserve artillery, and the artillery of the several 
divisions. Stevenson and Ferrero were ordered to report to 
Hancock and Sedgwick respectively. With his remaining troops, 
Burnside moved in between Warren and Hancock, and made his 
dispositions to seize Parker's store. By dawn of the 6th, the 
enemy's line of battle, facing westward, ran north and south, 
without a gap, for about five miles. 

The methods by which a strong force is brought into the field 
are, in importance, second only to the conduct of it when there. 
Let no one dream that natural magic and inspiration of the 
moment are equal to such achievement. On one side, what 
organization, what disposition can do, is now done. The mighty 
columns of the grand army have moved into the places appointed 
for them. "Their swords are a thousand, their bosoms are one." 
"The last reason of kings" is in place to give judgment. If the 
conclusion follow regularly from the premises, if the argument 
do not jump clear off from the premises, like Seward's letter in 
the Maeon and Slidell matter, victory is the ultimatum. Yet in 
this trial-fire of war, holding a future hell-fire of reconstruc- 
tion, what contingences are still in doubt, some one of which 
may make the final judgment swerve! In every voyage of life, 
wherever the sail be spread, there is but a plank, and that the 
narrowest, between preservation and destruction. The event of 
time mathematically adjusts itself, on an even keel, to the great 
deep of eternity, which holds it, as in the hollow of a hand ; a 
hand which will close a fist of iron on the first open seam, which, 
improvident of pitch and oakum, springs a leak. Between Sam- 
son s strength and Samson's weakness is but the difference of a 
hair. For the present, on one side, the miracle, which organiza- 
tion and discipline perform, has been wrought. The sword of a 
hundred thousand is in the hand of one. The monster fang 
which the wand of society evokes, when the game is an empire's 
neck, has uncoiled its hucre leno-th in continuous battle front, 
•whose units of length are miles. By dawn ! 

Some of you have been, no doubt, on one of our Southwest- 
ern bayous, or some similar spot, where the first notification of 
day, in that darkest hour which precedes the dawn, was the lull 
of the wolf's long howl; in place of which there came as herald 
of breaking day the trill of ever)' songster in the woods, like the 
different and successive notes of some musical instrument; the 
sparrow's twitter, the thrush s warble, the mocking-bird's wild 
lute; and jay-bird and cat-bird, and hawk and heron, the ducks 
.and the shrill cranes, the garrulous squirrels and the meek doves 


mixed their concords and their discords in a hymn to sunrise — 
and far above the song of the songster, the scream of the 
screamer, and the flight of the high-flyer, the silent wing of the 
solitary eagle, a music in itself. Yet all this Sabbath song and 
sight is the outward mask of universal and ceaseless, death-deal- 
ing strife. The battle of night, between deer and wolf, has ended, 
and the batttle of day, between bird and fish and worm, has be- 
gun. The proverbially early bird has quit his nap betimes. The 
little fish are making fountain jets in the air, in their terrified 
leap from the big ones. This is nature waking up. Or if it has 
been your lot to walk into some great city as day was breaking, 
you have noted as the first sign of waking the day laborers leav- 
ing the town to work in the country, or the country to work in 
the town, the hucksters and the first choppings of the butcher 
stalls, then the earliest rumblings of carriages and street cars,, 
the waking flutter by candlelight in the humbler tenements, fol- 
lowed by the appearances of the servants at the doors of the 
greater ones, and in between the waking of the shanty and the 
mansion, the steaming up of foundry and factory, like the snort 
of some great animal; then the throwing open of windowrblinds, 
the parade of shop-windows, the bustle of traffic, the whirl and 
tumult of an eager, hurrying multitude. You have watched a 
great city, like a mighty leviathan turn and toss itself on its 
couch, slowly hurl its huge limbs out of bed, and finally yawn, 
and stretch, and shake its eyes wide open. You have seen civili- 
zation wake up — the peaceful, thriving scene. But again the- 
peaceful picturesqueness is the outward mask, nay the outward 
expression of interminable strife. Civilized man has not ceased 
to say to his brother, "My life or thine." Ever mortal is the 
listed space, unseen but not unrealized to-day, wherein one 
strength says to another, " With my body against yours, will I 
make good my challenge." Still is every coigne of vantage 
warred for and against with sleepless enmity. He who holds 
his own does so with a continual stroke. The inapt, the inert, 
the dissolute must serve the wary and active, or be slain and 
consumed. As the vinedresser says to the wood, whose strength 
he means to throw into his main clusters, " You dare to wear the 
purple, you shall not bear a leaf," so another scythe with as sharp 
a blade. Civilization changes the coarseness, but not the rancor 
of the strife. Our great civilizers are our great destroyers, prove 
their fitness to survive, by being fittest to destroy. The pyramid 
of skulls has undergone evolution, like other things, but the 
principle of it has proved no such function in excess as to be- 
come extinct by natural selection. 

The strength of the nineteenth century is the strength of 


science, trained method, logical forecast of events, more vivid 
combination of details, and more intrepid grasp of the future, 
powers to discern and powers of adjustment to far-off corre- 
spondences of time and space. More and more strength reveals 
itself as certain calculation, clear, orderly arrangement, iron logic 
of deduction. The man of business is clearer, and because clearer 
more decided, resolute than others. Others take shelter under 
him, as formerly under the warrior's hand of mail. Lands and 
tenements, translated by his shrewd sagacity, as by the magicians 
wand, float to him from others who have not his gifts. Ransom 
of steeds and armor won in the encounter of arms, the encounter 
of wits, he bears off on the point of a sharper sense. When 
riches take to themselves wings, he is there to pursue. Swift, 
penetrating common sense sits on his strength, like falcon on 
the arm. Is some object of desire started, like lightning he flies 
his hawk at the game, to bring it down. Is resistance made, 
stout fight, which requites scorn for scorn and beak for beak? 
With the falcon glare and grip, the stronger talon rips out the 
heart of a foe. Nineteenth-century victories are business vic- 
tories, won less in the day of actual fight than in the day of 
training. The battle is the preparation for it, with all the sciences, 
economies, disciplined intensity and virtue of a people. The 
rank and file which rushes to the charge is the seal and measure 
of what has been done, as on commencement day prizes are be- 
stowed, not for the present, but the past. He who has trained, 
equipped himself the best, who has most purged himself from 
all weak or dark infirmity, untenable, unsound, ungoverned ways, 
all charlatanry and sham, then fronts his adversary, with know- 4 
ledge, discretion, sound, uncorrupt manhood, the cool head, the 
steady hand, he is fittest to survive. With quiet collected strength, 
he compels the agencies of land and sea to be his servants. 
Steamship and railway, all the enginery, all the deviltry of com- 
merce bend obediently to him, grow pliant as soft wax under his 
pressure. Even the winds and the waves obey him. As we 
grasp one handle to hew another, he, the true Briareus, stands at 
the end of a long line of levers and thermo-electric multipliers, 
and, with clear common sense for fulcrum, hundred-handed 
moves a world. 

Of the form of this modern world and the fashion of its 
strength, science is the glass and the mould, holding the mirror 
up to the meridian lines, which Nature has drawn for a world. 
Nature's adjutant calls the roll of Nature's " Invincibles," with 
unsheathed sward, calls attention to that "Old Guard" of Nature 
which neither dies nor surrenders; about which society forms in 
hollow-square, or kicking against which by sheer persistence of 


force, society is impaled and eliminated. Pitiless, appalling, 
almost beautiful with that beauty which Milton says has terror 
in it — as bright, deadly steel, flashing in the sun is beautiful — 
this wide remorseless warfare, wherein difficult victory is the 
price of all existence. Brute animal life is compelled to discrimi- 
nate, to find and keep the environment which is safe for it, wise 
for it, or else cease to exist. The wild animal cannot wear a 
Joseph's coat of many colors as the tame one does. Prudence, 
and the vigilance of adversaries seeking whom they may devour, 
forbid this. The partridge must be like the straw which hides 
the partridge, the brown and yellow autumn straw. Partridges 
of another color are quickly discovered and destroyed. At last 
this becomes the only color, the sole banner partridges can fight 
under. Or strength in the form of a lion falls on fieetness in 
the shape of the antelope. Starvation behind, speed like that of 
a bird in front! Only the strongest lions, the swiftest antelopes 
live. Animal life clothes itself with the element it lives in, takes 
traits from that, becomes that. And must not man too find the 
banner he can fight under, which is the same as the banner he is 
ready to die under? For him too must not the greatest victories 
be gained by not exclusively safe paths; "amid the confused 
noise of wafriors, and garments rolled in blood," not where the 
baggage trains are guarded? 

Onward sweeps force, stern, avenging, having mercy on whom 
it will have mercy, suffering only fitness to survive — the multitu- 
dinous, majestic, all-enveloping force of a universe, on-sweeping, 
divinely fair, divinely terrible! 

With Nature to be weak, is not to be miserable alone, it is to 
be criminal. The penal statutes go unrepealed on Nature's stat- 
ute book. For the highest there is ceaseless tension and toil; 
no height of character attained without much difficult, much 
painful breathing. Look into the faces of the saints who have 
lived, of the martyrs who have bled for mankind, of the artists 
who have wrought to express, the heroes who have fought to 
maintain the truth, see how they are written over with the lofty 
silence and battle-pain of life! Ah, yes! they have broken their 
bitter fast on the bread and wine of sorrow, the food of the im- 
mortals, the cup which Gods have given, and Godlike men have 
quaffed. The clouds which close around them are made their 
chariots of fire, and the portion of life, sworn foe to cant, is still — 
the cross! What should fervent soundness be, but ratsbane to 
the sweet tooth of a trimmer? 

But that here, in this dark wood, such a storm of rifles, making 
the earth quake, should hang in the air, ready to be touched off 
by the first light of a May morning! As it were, "the erroneous 


wood of this life" and "the dark battle of them who see not 
beyond it"! To the hillsides and winding gullies, where the 
woodsman axe has rarely or never wrung, and only the hunts- 
man's hounds waked the echoes, order has come at last- — the 
order of battle! Elsewhere, at this hour, the farmer is winding 
his horn from open window. The plow-boy is gearing up his 
team, and soon the slices will roll over from the mould-board, 
and new furrows be shining in the peaceful glebe! And the 
sower goes forth to sow. hoping (in such times, against hope) to 
reap in turn. The kine are lowing. It is the legendary hour, 
when the pretty milk-maid, hiding her blushes in her pail, with 
fresh sunlight in her eye, hears from her lover "the old, old 
story." Not often witnessed in our land, at this early hour, I 
believe, but at other hours very often witnessed — the soft, rosy 
flush of daybreak and young wonder, life's rosy aurora, drawn 
about young life. And wherever in our land such life waked that 
morning, it breathed a prayer for some friend, or brother, or more 
than brother, in the Wilderness. There "busy hammers" have 
been "closing rivets up." The sergeants are now roused, and 
are shaking up their detachments. In an instant, a breath "like 
a stream of brimstone" will kindle "the fiery, flying serpent," 
and loud death-blast. But for the instant there is stillness — "the 
torrent's smoothness, ere it dash below"! On the very brink 
scarce a ripple to be seen, and then the pit of Hell! 

Burnside is up, we have seen. Longstreet and Anderson are 
not up. 

Lee had gone into the fight having on the ground not more 
than twenty-eight thousand muskets, all told. With this small 
force (diminished by the losses of the day before), and with the 
view of diverting the blow about to descend, from the point 
where he was least prepared for it, he himself renews the fight 
on Ewell's front, striking Grant on his right flank (Seymour's 
brigade), and involving the whole of two divisions (Rickett's and 
Wright's). In vain, however. The anticipated blow descends 
according to orders ("attack along the whole line at five o clock") 
a few minutes later. 

On the 4th Longstreet was advised by the Commanding-Gene- 
ral that the enemy appeared to be moving towards Stevensburg. 
In conformity with orders, Longstreet gets his men upon their 
legs about four o'clock in the afternoon, and marches to Brock's 
bridge, on the border of Orange county, bringing Kershaw over 
some fourteen miles, from Gordonsville, and Field some sixteen, 
from Liberty Mills. On the morning of the 5th he resumes his 
march, and goes into camp that evening near Richards' shop, on 
the Catharpin road, twelve miles from his point of starting, and 


six or seven miles, by a road through the woods, from Parker's; 
store. During the latter part of this day's march, Rosser was 
skirmishing in front with his brigade of cavalry 

During the night Hancock was informed that his right would 
be relieved by General Wadsworth, of the Fifth corps, and two 
divisions of the Ninth corps, under Burnside, and cautioned to 
keep a sharp lookout on his left. Before five A. M. he received, 
word that Longstreet was moving on the Catharpin road to fall 
upon his left, and Barlow's division was placed in position to re- 
ceive him at the point it was supposed he would advance. But, 
whatever had been Lee's first intentions for Longstreet on the 
Catharpin, at 12:30 A. M. on the 6th, the latter General, by Lee's 
orders, started for Parker's store. Arriving there about dawn, 
he was directed to press on at once to relieve Heth and Wilcox. 
He had some two miles still to march. A Confederate line hope- 
lessly outnumbered and outflanked desperately awaited him. 

A little before daybreak, fearing he would be attacked before 
he could be relieved, Wilcox ordered the pioneers to fell trees to 
make an abatis, but the pioneere were fired on and could not con- 
tinue. He looked up; the tops of the trees had caught the 
morning red. Then he sat watching the east, as the veins of day 
throbbed across the morning. Heth, too, " agitated by an anxiety 
such as he never felt before or afterwards," finally determined to 
lay matters before Lee; searched for him two hours in vain; then 
walked up and down in rear of his troops until he fancied he saw 
day breaking, when, ordering his horse, he went at full speed 
down the road — but no Longstreet! In despair he returned to 
his troops. Day had fairly broken. 

No one slept that night at Hill's headquarters. Before day 
the horses were saddled. As day broke, and nothing was heard 
of Longstreet, the suspense was insupportable. All knew the 
two divisions would give way, if attacked, and all knew they 
would be attacked. Leaving his Chief of Staff beside the smoul- 
dering sticks, where the night had been spent, Hill, with the rest 
of his staff, rode to the left beyond the guns. He was hardly 
out of view when Longstreet galloped on the field, but to the 
questions which were quickly put to him, he replied, "My troops 
are not yet up. I have ridden ahead to find out the situation." 
As he spoke his voice was drowned in the roar of musketry. 

Believing resistance to be futile in such formation as he had, 
Heth ordered his brigade commanders to take their men to the 
rear as fast as possible. In effect, the men were ordered to run, 
and the signs are they obeyed, with all the means which God 
and nature had put into their feet. If they did not severally 
show a clean pair of heels, it is partly to be ascribed to the fact 


that the same were not there to be shown. For awhile it looked 
as if we were about to prevail over the enemy, as our ancestors 
beat the British at Bladensburg — " in the long run." 

The circle of attack soon closed around Wilcox. Beginning 
on his right, in a few minutes it was raging all along his front 
and on both flanks. " It was only a question of time," says Wil- 
cox, "how long my men could hold their ground. At length 
the men were seen giving way, but not in disorder." Wilcox 
rode rapidly to Lee, not three hundred and fifty yards from the 
troops then engaged. Lee said to him, " Longstreet must be 
here; go bring him up." Dashing to the road to see if he was 
in sight, Wilcox met the head of Kershaw's division. This he 
directed to file to the right of the road and form line as quickly 
as possible, for fear his own men might be forced back upon 
Kershaw before he could get into position; which is what did 
very speedily happen. Our whole line was coming back like a 
wave. There were at this time two batteries on the left of the 
road. General Hill rode along the line of these guns, directing 
them how to fire, which they were compelled to do, while some 
of our own men were in the path of their projectiles. It was 
said of the Turks, in the Crimean war, that a wise instinct taught 
them, that, if there was one thing which ought not to be left to 
fate or to the precepts of a deceased prophet, it was the artillery. 

With steadiness, opening their ranks to let the retreating troops 
through, Kershaw's division formed line of battle on the right, 
each brigade forming separately under fire, in a dense thicket, 
which rendered it impossible to see either the character or num- 
bers of the foe they were to resist. 

Hennegan was thrown on the right, and the Second South 
Carolina regiment deployed and pushed forward on the left of the 
road. Almost immediately the enemy was upon them. Henne- 
gan having passed sufficiently to the right to admit of the deploy- 
ment of General Humphreys to his left, this formation was made 
in good order under the fire of the enemy, who had so far pene- 
trated between Hennegan and the road as to almost enfilade the 
Second South Carolina and the batteries holding the left. Hum- 
phreys was pushed forward as soon as he got into position; and 
Bryan's brigade coming up, was ordered into position to Henne- 
gan 's right. 

The two batteries on the left of the road had opened at the 
critical instant of the da}' Their fire had the desired effect of 
checking the enemy momentarily. That moment was decisive. 
Longstreet, arriving so late but so opportunely, had time to form. 
General Lee now appeared on the left leading Hood's old bri- 
gade. Longstreet had just filed two brigades in rear of the 


guns, and riding slowly along their front, as they came into line, 
had cautioned them to keep cool, and gave them his own exam- 
ple. As the Texas brigade moved through the guns, General 
Lee rode on their flank, and raising his hat, saluted them as old 
friends who had too long been parted, and said aloud he would 
lead them himself. The fine eye of Lee must often have glis- 
tened with something better than a conqueror's pride, whenever 
he recalled the cry, with which that veteran rank and file sent 
him to the rear and themselves to the front. The name of that 
warlike man, who stepped out from the ranks to seize the bridle 
of Traveler, and force him and his rider back from the battle 
shower, I cannot give you. A tall, gaunt figure, clad in rags, and 
the lightbeams of a beautiful, heroic splendor, rises before us for 
an instant, and then perishes out of view, as the truly great are 
wont to perish — their very names forgotten, or known only to 
God; their deeds and the fruit of them imperishable. Lee was 
stopped; he and his horse reined in, while the men cried, "We 
will go forward, but you must go back." So said, so acted, these 
Texas men, loving a higher than themselves better than them- 
selves, this their last feeling. It was a fine old gladiatorial, 
moritari te sahitamus, only finer in that it was freer, for altars and 
for hearths, not for a Roman holiday They flung their caps into 
the air, and, with a shout which was their stern farewell, swept 
onward. Their front was to the east as they took their last gaze 
of this earth. Sunrise was shining in their faces as their own 
sun set. The smile of that May morning kissed their faces as 
they fell. The rising sun was their winding-sheet. Savages, I 
am told, these Texans were. There was nothing savage in their 

Longstreet's first order to Field was to form line of battle on 
the right, perpendicular to the road. Field thereupon threw 
Anderson's brigade, which was leading, in line to the right. But 
before it could be followed up by the others, a second order came 
to form in the quickest order possible, and charge with any front. 
Throwing Gregg's Texas brigade on the left of the road, as has 
been stated, and Benning behind Gregg, and Law behind Ben- 
ning, and Jenkins behind Law, Field slipped the leash. He had 
but to point to the enemy. The Texas brigade dashed forward 
as soon as it was formed, without waiting for the brigades in the 
rear. Ignorant of what was in front of them, the view being 
obstructed by a slight rise and some scattered pines, the enemy 
came on. 

At the instant there was nothing there to oppose him but 
Gregg's Texans, less than five hundred strong. Flanked on both 
sides, these struck him a staggering blow full in the face, these 


forced him back — but with a loss of two-thirds of their own 
number killed and wounded in ten minutes. Later in the cam- 
paign, and after some recruiting had taken place, Secretary Rea- 
gan went out from Richmond to visit the brigade, and reported 
that it averaged two and two-fifths wounds to a man. Some com- 
panies were entirely obliterated. One company for months had 
on duty but a single man, a lieutenant — all. the rest killed or 
wounded at the Wilderness! Onward sped the Texas whirlwind, 
till it whirled itself into a thing of shreds and tatters; hanging 
together at the last, like the limbs of a body, adhering by the 
skin, after the bone has been crushed. They closed up their 
ranks over their comrades as they fell, till there was no longer a 
rank or a comrade to close. No laureled Six Hundred ever 
charged more nobly than these Five Hundred. Glorious is it, 
and glorified ever, when a Winkelried gathers the indomitable 
spears into his arms, and says to liberty at his back, " Forward 
over me" — ransoms his army by his own immolation! Even so 
these Texans made their bosoms a sheath for the thunderbolt. 
They buried defeat on the field, under a mound of their own 
corpses. They stepped to the graves of martyrs with the grace 
of courtiers. They had but an instant to think and to act, and 
they made it one of imperishable beauty The long track of 
light, which followed in the wake of their valor, they did not, 
could not see. Their Wilderness was then; their Promised Land 
eternity. Art will depict a scene which no art can exaggerate. 
Their greatest picture lives on a canvas of reality, woven in 
blood, and flame, and "battle splendor" — immortal there, as hero- 
ism only is. Band of Immortals! in your "iron sleep" take 
our proud and sad good-bye. 

The Texas brigade met and overcame the first shock at this 
point. Pfenning's Georgia brigade followed, and partaking of the 
same slaughter, partook of the same fame — the brigade badly 
cut up, Benning wounded — but the Georgia war banner, passing 
through the fire, and carried by no common hand, waved proudly 
on the other side, the side of victor)- The brigade was literally 
begirt with fire. Victorious in front, its swift forward movement 
had exposed both flanks, and now from troops south of the road 
destruction poured on its right. Law's brigade of Alabamians 
(Colonel Perry in command), forming under the eye of Lee, 
sprang forward next, with the old hot hurrah. The two right 
regiments, the Fourth and Forty-seventh, keeping close to the 
road, advanced firing, and soon divided the attention of the troops 
on the south. On the extreme left, the Fifteenth Alabama 
changed direction in marching, and wheeling to the left, faced 
towards the north, so that the two wifigs of the Alabama brigade 


stood back to back, while both fought furiously. The Alabama 
centre (the Forty-fourth and Forty-eighth regiments) had moved 
obliquely to the left, where the enemy appeared in greatest force; 
in doing so leaving a considerable gap between the former regi- 
ment and the Forty-seventh on its right. The two regiments 
(Forty-fourth and Forty-eighth) had to cross a morass, and then, 
under heavy fire, press up hill. The Forty-fourth kept well 
closed, but the galling fire told on the Forty-eighth. Many of 
the men left the ranks to take shelter behind the trees. The 
Forty-eighth was faltering. Fortunately, the Fifteenth Alabama 
had been unexpectedly successful. It had disconcerted and put 
to flight the Fifteenth New York (heavy siege artillerymen 
during the greater part of the war), before they had time to in- 
flict injury in turn, or realize by how few they weie attacked. 
Having now no enemy in their immediate front, the Fifteenth 
Alabama, in the nick of time, swung round to the right, sent a 
volley up the line which confronted the Forty-eighth, and the 
heights were won. The enemy was now so far checked that 
Jenkins could be formed, and for a time held in reserve; but Per- 
rin's brigade of Anderson's division (just arrived on the field) 
went in on the right of Law, and a Florida brigade, of the same 
division, coming up soon after, Perry received orders to drop to 
the rear of the two, and act as a support. Perrin's brigade (Ala- 
bamians also) crouched, in the thick woods, on the left of the 
road, to meet the attack, which soon rolled upon it, and deliver- 
ing a fire which was as destructive as it was unexpected, followed 
rapidly the flying foe, drove the first line over the second, and 
pushed forward, perhaps half a mile, though afterwards falling 
back some distance towards (but not to) the initial point. 

The enemy's progress had been stopped, and he had been 
driven back on the left by the Texas, Georgia and Alabama bri- 
gades. On the right, urged forward by Longstreet and unable 
to further extend his line with the brigade of Wofford, then 
marching as rear-guard to the wagon-train, Kershaw placed him- 
self at the head of his three brigades, and led in person a charge 
which retired somewhat the confident North. A pause ensued, 
wherein Hancock, in great force, stood still. At 7 A. M. he sends 
fresh orders to push on; but it was not until two hours later 
(owing, he thinks, to the apprehended approach of Longstreet on 
his left) that with half of Grant's army well in hand, he attacked 
with all his power. The struggle for life or death which follows 
strains every sinew, yet is without permanent advantage to either 
side. The same ground is fought over in succession by both. 
About 9:15 A. M. Hancock received a dispatch telling him "to 
attack simultaneously with Burnside." Hancock being at that 


instant simultaneously attacked himself, on the right and left of 
the Plank road, exhibits very unmistakably his view that the 
person most needed to be simultaneous was Burnside. Half an 
hour later, Hancock received a dispatch that Cutler's brigade of 
the Fifth corps had fallen back considerably disorganized. Han- 
cock must take measures to check this movement of the enemy, 
as Meade has no troops to spare; and two brigades of Birney 
are sent, who connect with Warren's left. The firing again died 
away, and there was a lull all along the line until about noon. 
Hancock had advanced, met Longstreet, fought, accomplished 

Thrown suddenly, while still marching by the flank, into the 
presence of an advancing foe, Longstreet laid hold on two batte- 
ries of artillery, as an athlete might seize a horizontal bar, and 
wheel his whole body to a level. Blucher might have been 
proud of the tenacious hand which was laid on the trunnions of 
those guns, and Macdonald's column never tore a bloodier wreath. 

Heth and Wilcox had been moved to the left to fill up the in- 
terval between Longstreet and Ewell, and protect Longstreet's 
left; with the exception of a part of Davis' brigade of Heth s 
division, under Colonel Stone, of Mississippi, which fought all 
the rest of the day with Longstreet's forces. Colonel Stone was 
complimented on the field by General Hill. General Lee sent 
two telegrams in respect to these divisions. The first on the 5th: 
" Heth and Wilcox have repulsed the repeated and desperate 
assaults on the Plank road." The second on the 6th: "Heth 
and Wilcox, in the act of being relieved, were attacked and 
thrown into some confusion." The statement in Hancock's re- 
port, Appleton's Cyclopaedia and elsewhere, that " Hill was driven 
back one and a half miles," is inaccurate. The two batteries, 
whose fire at the critical moment had helped to check the enemy, 
were some three hundred yards (say four hundred) from where 
the fight began. The enemy never reached those guns. There 
is nothing which so touches me as the defeat or eclipse of the 
truly brave. Their sorrow, or their shame, is of a noble sort. 
From first to last these two divisions had the hardest task. It 
was theirs, in that lonely Wilderness, to hold at bay an arm}-, 
and an army under Hancock, until their own could come up; 
and then on the morrow, through no fault of their own, see 
another snatch the laurel from their brow They had to do 
more than show courage in difficulty — that the)- did on the 5th. 
They had to do more than show courage in disaster — that Long- 
street did on the 6th. They had to bring order out of their own 
confusion, recover the cubits of their stature out of their humili- 
ation They had to form though they had been broken, and ad- 


vance where they had fled. From first to last, theirs was intrin- 
sically the hardest task. The greatest thing need not be the 
most famous, nor that which is cheered or cheers itself the most. 
In war, as elsewhere, magnanimity does not consist in never being 
thrown. Its grand quality is the heart to rally under defeat. 

Anderson's brigades, arriving after Longstreet, and after the 
sharpest of the attack was over, were successively sent off by him, 
where they were most needed, until he had but one left, Ma- 
hone's. An examination of the enemy's position now led to a 
movement which came near to being glorious with complete suc- 
cess. The brigades of Mahone, Anderson, and Wofford, of 
which Mahone, as senior brigadier, was in command, were moved 
beyond the enemy's left, with orders to attack him on his left and 
in rear. The enemy, who was now, at intervals only, bearing 
down upon our line, was at the same moment to be attacked in 
front. The long-expected flank movement came at last, and 
when it was least desired. The troops in front moved down on 
both sides of the road, and started the enemy back, at first 
slowly, until the effect of the flank movement was felt, when he 
broke in confusion, leaving his dead and wounded thick "upon 
the field. "They came yelling like so many infuriated devils," 
writes the correspondent of the New York World. Could Lee 
have spared a larger force from his front, say from Heth and 
Wilcox; repeated the audacity of Chancellorsville! Again and 
again, by just such venture, he achieved his double gains. His 
greatest victories were won under a blade suspended by a hair. 
So it is with victory. To know how to dare everything at the 
right place and moment is one of its secrets. If once more it 
may be done! See what three brigades are doing, co-operating 
with others in front! They fall on Hancock's left, crushing 
Frank's brigade, sweeping away Mott's division. Hancock's left 
is forced back. He endeavors to retain the advanced position 
held by his right on the Plank road, but cannot do so. He rallies 
on the original line from which he advanced. We are rolling 
him up like a scroll. The Plank road is ours. We are victo- 
rious. We are marching to further victory. Wadsworth gives 
way in front, himself struck down. The Alabama brigade sweeps 
over him. Grant's army totters. Already repulsed, it is now 
threatened with destruction. In such a moment, Longstreet 
"fell, bleeding like an ox." It was another such moment, when 
Joseph E. Johnston fell at Seven Pines; another such, when our 
star of chivalry, the Sidney of Shiloh (bright image of him of 
Zutphen), falling from his horse, threw the pallor of his death on 
his victory, as it rolled over him in the dust. 

In concert with the attack of the infantry on front and flank, 


two guns of Mcintosh's battalion were pushed down the road, 
firing as they went. Longstreet had stopped for an instant, at 
the suggestion of General Lee, to direct the removal of some logs 
which impeded the guns, and then, accompanied by Brigadier- 
General Jenkins and staff, continued down the road. Hancock 
was now back on the Brock road, holding his last position. Dis- 
positions were made for a further attack upon the position on the 
Brock road. Kershaw was to break the line and push it to the 
right of the road towards Fredericksburg, while Jenkins should 
march by the flank down the road, beyond our main line of 
battle and of skirmishers, and then deploy and sweep the Brock 
road. Kershaw was riding with Jenkins, at the head of the 
brigade of the latter, when two or three shots were fired on the 
left of the road, and immediately afterwards a volley was poured 
into the head of the column from the woods on the right, occu- 
pied by Mahone's brigade. By this fire Longstreet was dange- 
rously wounded, and Jenkins killed. Hancock could now reform 
his broken columns. 

Hancock's account of this transaction is very simple. The 
Confederates advancing upon Frank's brigade, which, "having 
been heavily engaged in the earlier part of the day, had exhausted 
its ammunition, and was compelled to retire before the enemy, 
whose attack was made with great vehemence. This was Long- 
street's attack. Passing over Frank's brigade, they struck the 
left of Mott's division, which, in turn, was forced back. Some 
confusion ensuing among the troops of that division, I endeav- 
ored to restore order, and to reform my line of battle along the 
Orange plank-road, from its extreme advance to its junction with 
the Brock road, by throwing back my left, in order to hold my 
advanced position on that road, and on its right; but was unable 
to effect this, owing to the partial disorganization of the troops, 
which was to be attributed to their having been engaged for many 
hours in a dense forest under a heavy and murderous musketry 
fire, when their organization was partly lost. General Birney, 
who was in command of that portion of the line, thought it 
advisable to withdraw the troops from the woods, where it was 
almost impossible to adjust our lines, and to reform them in the 
breastworks along the Brock road, on our original line of battle." 
Making allowances for certain pardonable euphemisms, the true 
face of the matter is seen to be as heretofore stated. Mr. Swinton 
writes: "It seemed, indeed, that irretrievable disaster was upon 
us; but in the very torrent and tempest of the attack it suddenly 
ceased, and all was still." And again "But in the very fury and 
tempest of the Confederate onset, the advance was of a sudden 
stayed by a cause at the moment unknown. This afterwards 
proved to have been the fall of the head of the attack." 


General Lee now came in person to the front, and ordered 
Kershaw to take position with his right resting on the road-bed 
of the Orange and Fredericksburg railroad, and told Field to 
straighten his line — Field and Kershaw being perpendicular to 
the Plank road, and the turning force parallel with it, to which 
fact was due the casualty which had just happened. With the 
exception of Wofford's brigade, Kershaw was engaged no more 
that day It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon before the next ad- 
vance was made. Hancock is now too strong behind his works 
to be successfully driven from them. He is greatly shaken in 
them, however, and greatly demoralized behind them, to an ex- 
tent which shows how near we were to victory four hours earlier, 
when the blindest accident pulled down the head of the attack; 
nay, how narrowly we grazed it this second time, after the lapse of 
hours had given leave to fortify behind breastworks; which, but 
for the fall of the two generals, would not have been granted. 
There was nothing else but to drive from a strong line, by main 
force, an enemy prepared now against manoeuvre and surprise. 
A Russian proverb says, " Measure ten times, you can cut only 
once." Precious as his army was, Lee might well have hesitated 
to assault a position so defended and defensible, after his chief 
lieutenant had been borne from the field. It was a time to look 
about him well, to look before and after, with a provident, reflect- 
ing eye, to see surely what might be expected of great daring. 
In the fourth year of the war, it was not lawful to dare too much. 
Lee looked before he would dare this leap for his adversary's 
wall. How, being in, he bore himself, the opposer is aware. 
Hancock's report being at hand, let that speak. 

"At 4. 15 P M., the enemy advanced against my line in force." 
"'After half an hour had passed, some of the troops began to 
waver, and finally a portion of Mott's division and Ward's brigade 
of Birney's division, in the first line, gave way, retiring in dis- 
order towards Chancellorsville. My staff and other officers made 
great exertions to rally these men, and many of them were re- 
turned to the line of battle, but a portion of them could not be 
collected until the action was over. As soon as the break oc- 
curred the enemy pushed forward, and some of them reached the 
breastworks and planted their flags thereon. The 

confusion and disorganization among a portion of the troops of 
Mott's and Birney's divisions, on this occasion, was greatly in- 
creased, if not originated, by the front line of breastworks having 
taken fire a short time before the enemy made his attack; the 
flames having been communicated to it from the forest in front 
(the battle-ground of the morning), which had been burning for 
some hours. The breastworks on this portion of my line were 


constructed entirely of logs, and at the critical moment of the 
enemy's attack were a mass of flames, which it was impossible at 
that time to subdue, the fire extending for many hundred paces 
right and left. The intense heat and the smoke, which was 
driven by the wind directly into the faces of the men, prevented 
them, on portions of the line, from firing over the parapet, and at 
some points compelled them to abandon the line." 

Hancock's position was a trying one. Suddenly the gloom of 
the dense wood was pierced with the fierce glare of conflagration. 
The torch was added to the sword. But if it is hard to stand 
firm behind a breastwork of fire, is it nothing to charge up to it 
and plant a flag upon it? Jenkins' South Carolina brigade, led 
by Bratton now, under a withering fire, rush up to the works and 
into them, but it seems are not supported as they should have 
been, and Carroll, hurrying up, is too strong for them. Blackened 
with the smoke of gunpowder and other smoke, they fall back 
discomfited — save them who fall back dead— they flame-girt, the 
breastworks of the enemy, their funeral pyre. 

The correspondent of the World wrote: "Mott's division fell 
back in confusion. Stevenson's division gave way confusedly, 
compelling the remainder of the left-centre to fall back some dis- 
tance. Crawford's division suffered severely. One of its regi- 
ments, the Seventh Pennsylvania reserve, was captured almost in 
a body, and the enemy succeeded in reaching our breastworks. 
There was imminent danger of a general break." 

In the interval between the two attacks of our right, Grant had 
observed to Mr. Swinton, as they sat "under the trees on the hill- 
side," " It has been my experience that though the Southerners 
fight desperately at first, yet, when we hang on for a day or two, 
we whip them awfully " 

Conformably with this hillside view of things, Grant sent word 
to Hancock to attack again at 6 o'clock in the evening. It was 
while the latter was making his dispositions to this end, that the 
Confederates had resumed the offensive. After they had fallen 
back a dispatch was received countermanding the order to attack 
at six. The battle in this part of the field may be summed up 
by saying: Hancock broke our right in the morning. Longstreet 
drove him back, and broke his left in the evening — over the same 
ground. They did not reach our guns, and we did not reach the 
Brock road. 

"The Rebels cannot endure another such clay, and we can," was 
the word in "The Union Camp" as the sun went down on the 
6th. "The Union Camp" was premature in this. "The Rebels" 
were not worn out "by attrition" in one battle, or in two. They 
could endure many more such days. The}' could endure more 
that day 


On our right, a very heavy attack had been made in the morn- 
ing, on Early's front. Persistent attacks revealed to Warren and 
Sedgwick that the sacrifice of life in the effort to carry this front 
was useless. From sunrise to sunset the critical moments and 
conflicts were on the right. But one most sad event on Ewell's 
line, it were a serious omission not to mention. 

Early on the 6th Colonel John Thompson Brown, with Lieu- 
tenant Angel, of the Second howitzers, at the time detached as 
adjutant, had ridden to the front with the hope of being able to 
place some artillery in position, but had only succeeded in find 
ing place for a single section. In his eagerness to bring more 
guns to bear at a point about one-fourth of a mile to the right of 
the turnpike, Colonel Brown, attended by no one but Lieutenant 
Angel, advanced some hundred and fifty yards in front of the 
Fifth Alabama regiment, and in doing so came close to the ene- 
my's skirmishers, who were concealed by the brown brush. In 
the midst of such reconnoitring, the silence was broken by a 
volley of musketry fired by the enemy's pickets, and Brown fell. 
A bullet had penetrated his forehead, killing him instantly. The 
beat of one of the warmest hearts, making a man's breast like a 
woman's, had ceased, and the bright outlook of a life, all aflame 
with generous and manly hopes, had fallen quenched. The 
sword presented to him by those howitzers, who under his orders 
had fired the first and over his memory did afterwards fire the 
last shot in the war, clung to him as he fell. He died with har- 
ness on his back, worthy his father's son. 

Before daylight Gordon had discovered that his left over- 
lapped the enemy's right, and by scouts and personal examina- 
tion, he found that the enemy did not suspect his presence. He 
was therefore led to believe that he could destroy that portion 
of the Union army by a flank movement, and almost from the 
rising until the going down of the sun he urged such a move- 
ment. It was the same military eye, which on the 12th of May 
at Spotsylvania Courthouse, devised the means to relieve the 
salient of the crushing pressure of Grant's columns. But owing 
to the report of our cavalry, that a column was threatening our 
left, and to the belief that Burnside's corps was in rear of the 
flank on which the attack was suggested, Ewell and Early con- 
curred in deeming it impolitic to do as Gordon proposed. But 
towards the close of the day these objections seemed no longer 
to exist, and the movement was ordered. 

About sundown Gordon moved out, and found the enemy, as 
he expected, totally unprepared. The first troops encountered 
were caught with their guns stacked, and fled precipitately. Bri- 
gade after brigade was broken to pieces before any formation 


could be made. The woods were strewed with the enemy's dead 
and wounded. A number of prisoners were captured, among 
them Generals Seymour and Shaler. The Sixth army corps was 
broken and smitten with panic. Johnston's brigade (which had 
arrived that morning from Hanover Junction) was thrown in the 
rear of Gordon's, and subsequently Pegram's was moved to his 
assistance. The plan originally proposed by Gordon had been 
to move out one or two brigades, place them immediately on the 
enemy's flank, move rapidly down his lines, and, as we cleared 
the front of each of our brigades or divisions, to have these 
move out and join in the attack, so that we would have a con- 
stantly increasing force, attacking a constantly decreasing enemy, 
placed under the disadvantage of having constantly to change 
his front to meet the flank movement. 

The following from the New York World suffices to show how 
far results realized expectations: "The enemy came down like a 
torrent, rolling and dashing in living waves, and flooding up 
against the whole Sixth corps. The main line stood like a rock; 
not so the extreme right. That flank was instantly and utterly 
turned. The Rebel line was the longer, and surged around Sey- 
mour's brigade, tided over it and through it, beat against Shaler's, 
and bore away his right regiments. All this done in less than 
ten minutes. Perhaps, Seymour's men, seeing their pickets run- 
ning back, and hearing the shouts of the Rebels, who had charged 
with all their chivalry, were smitten with a panic, and standing 
on no order of going, went at once, and, in an incredible short 
time, made their way through a mile and a half of woods to the 
Plank road in the rear. They reported, in the frantic manner 
usual to stampeded men, the entire corps broken." 

Gordon has ground for the assertion, " If the movement had 
been 'made in the morning, as I desired, it is not too much to say 
that we would have destroyed Grant's army." Not till daylight 
on the 7th, when the whole of Early s division and a part of 
Johnson's were thrown forward on Sedgwick's abandoned line, 
so as to occupy a part of his abandoned works, on the right of 
the road diverging to the Germanna Ford road, and leaving in 
our rear his works on the left of that road — not till then did we 
realize the full extent of our success. Twice that day another 
Chancellorsville was in our hands, and twice it dropped. 

The Tribune letter, dated Wilderness, May 7th, says: "Sedg- 
wick's affair last night has in nowise disconcerted the plans of 
our leaders, depressed their hope, or impaired the efficiency of 
their men. It was but a disastrous episode." Meade's report 
has this "Just before dark the enemy moved a considerable force 
.around the right flank of the Sixth corps, held by Rickett's di- 


vision, and in conjunction with a demonstration in front, succeeded 
in forcing the division back in some confusion, making prisoners 
of Generals Seymour and Shaler. This substantially ended the 
battie of the Wilderness." 

The London Times of May 25th, in allusion to the series of 
battles of which the Wilderness was the first, and before the de- 
tails of the battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse had been received, 
makes this assertion : " It would not be impossible to match the 
results of any one day's battle with stories from the Old World; 
but never, we should say, were five such battles compressed into 
six successive days." The Times is amused at the thought that 
the Americans are probably proud of their pre-eminence for 
slaughter. The loss of the Northern army on the 5th and 6th 
of May, in killed and wounded, and exclusive of prisoners, was 
thirty-seven thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven — a list de- 
rived from the Surgeon-General's office. Seeing that his cavalry 
and artillery are, with little exception, not included in the count, 
it is not too much to say that Lee killed or disabled one of the 
enemy for every man he had engaged. Had the policy of wear- 
ing out by attrition been resorted to earlier, the South could have 
stood it longer than the North. The policy itself is not strictly 
original with our favored land. In their belligerent relations with 
the English, the Chinese announced themselves invincible, be- 
cause they said it was simply impossible for Great Britain to kill 
them off as rapidly as they were born. The policy over here was 
very near receiving the coup de grace at the very first throw; very 
near also to achieving more memorable results at the first throw. 
Had Longstreet been a few minutes later, Lee's army would, or, 
at least should, have been defeated. Had he been a few minutes 
earlier, or not been wounded, Grant would have been driven 
across the river, in the ignominious defeat of his predecessors. 
You know Landseer's picture of defiance. The Monarch of the 
Glen brought to bay, with his forefoot on the first hound, is grind- 
ing him in the sand — the beautiful head, with the warrior-horn 
and the victor-glance, lifted in free, fearless fashion to the pack, 
which has paused to breathe, or, it may be, manoeuvre. So stood 
Lee, on the evening of the sixth, after Death had thrown his 
long shadow behind the trees. To borrow the word of a French 
general, he had made Grant "swallow his sword up to the hilt." 
Had not the dimensions of the throat been equal to three such 
swords, it had never breathed again. Grant had gained nothing 
and had lost heavily. When he turned to make for Spotsylvania 
Courthouse, though he had possession of the direct route, and 
had the start, he was again foiled, as he continued to be in every 
subsequent attempt to get between Lee's army and Richmond. 


After the bloody exercise of the 1 2th of May, Grant forthwith • 
enlarged his edge to the back of "all the summer " — which was im- 
mediately perceived to be as clear an instance of the moral sub- 
lime as the original project of "hanging on for a day or two." 
For a day or two it seemed to him expedient to hang off. He 
says in his report: "The 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th of 
May were consumed in manoeuvring and awaiting reinforcements 
from Washington" — the General who never manoeuvred! 

When, on Jthe 1st of April, 1865, the Confederate line at Peters- 
burg "stretched until it broke," and eight days afterwards Lee 
surrendered his eight thousand muskets to the successful foe, the 
incessant jeopardy and vigil of eleven months, the marching and 
countermarching, days of danger and nights of wasting, want, 
exposure, exhaustion, had done their work. Grant's bayonets, 
also, had done their work; yet not by simply "hanging on for a 
day or two," on this or any other line. Spring violets changed 
to summer roses; summer roses passed into the crimson-yellow 
forest light, which sets its bow in the cloud of Indian summer. 
The passion flower wept and passed. The violet breath came 
over a second spring, while Grant was hanging on his "day or 


The situation at one time resembled that of one year earlier, 
when Hooker's right was turned two miles above Chancellorsville, 
and three divisions hurled upon a far stronger position, from 
which it might have been impossible to dislodge the enemy, had 
time been given him to recover from his first surprise, but when 
no time was given him. The bones of Jackson turned in their 
coffin, as the tramp of armed men reverberated on the field of 
his splendor. It needs some modification, that old proverb, "The 
dead lion is more than the living dog." This man cannot be left 
out in the enumeration of the forces fighting for us on the sixth. 
Dead he fought — nay ; triumphed. Hancock's apprehensions of 
a flank movement on his left, all through the morning of the 
sixth, apprehensions continually awakened and allayed, and 
"paralyzing a number of his best troops, who otherwise would 
have gone into action at a decisive point" — these were Jackson s 
deeds on this very ground surviving him. The memory of Jack- 
son a year before was the sleeping lion, the stroke of whose paw 
was momentarily expected. 

How all things are granted to the sincere and earnest nature 
has been ineffaceably stamped here. " He that runs may read. 
Here he whose life was the consecration of valor unto duty, hal- 
lowed the spot on which he fell, and made it, most truly, sacred 


soil; made the Wilderness his lion breast. For a man to manifest 
so much in the flesh, the Genius of the time had said, " I will seek 
him among the conventionally obscure; I will find him among 
the constitutionally weak. On him will I lay the weight of my 
hand, and then will I demand of him the fullness of his stature — 
a hand of hardship, which shall be like the weight above the arch, 
keeping it in place." A.nd so he grew a firm, plain soldier, not 
to be twisted, and not to be thwarted. The world admires when 
the five talents make themselves ten, but the truly grand issue is 
the struggle of the solitary talent to repeat itself. In after days 
he became noted for his celerity, but it came of regularly accele- 
rated motion originally slow. It was a swiftness born less of 
vivacity than of intensity. His wheel was a swoop as from an 
aerie in the majestic depths — a wing swimming upon depth, and 
a minatory beak like the eagle's. It is more clear henceforth, 
what is meant by the "race to the swift" — swiftness slowly gath- 
ered, launched from a divine depth, like lightning. Here was a 
deep, silent growth, ripening in stillness. 

A. Jackson, terribly in earnest, dwelt terribly alone very often. 
Let us well understand, and lay it to heart, that the visible uni- 
verse frowns on such a man, that the world of appearance is in 
arms against him, till he end the conqueror of the world. "Find 
your advantage in a little latitude; only upon condition that you 
trim here, are derelict there, shall you succeed, with my permis- 
sion," says the world. "Suppress this scruple," says one. "Do 
my dirty work," says another. Of many phases in this man's 
life, could we see them, we would say "Ecce in Descrto!" Face 
to face with the tou^h fact of existence, on the one hand, and 
the guile of the plausible on the other, whose arch snare for the 
straitened is illusive haste, he learns that which is the beginning 
of all wisdom, the immortal difference between truth and lies. 
The field of deception, including self-deception, greatly the worst, 
perceptibly narrows. The sense of reality deepens in him, espe- 
cially of the great unseen realities, on which he must forever 
lean, when he joins the weak things of the world to do fearless 
battle with the seeming strong. In common speech, we say of 
one farther-reaching, acuter than his fellows, " He sees through 
a mill stone." Dim, material senses obstruct not his wider, pro- 
founder vision. What we call strength of mind portrays itself 
in this. The non-realizing sense of truth, of such truth as is 
avowed, and even believed to be believed, is the great source of 
disorder in this world. That " love of money is the root of all 
evil," in some cases, is not quite clear. There are so many evils, 
and so many roots. But that love of, or subjection to, appear- 
ances, the captivity of the sense to the flash of the present, the 


charmful or the minatory immediate, lies at the bottom of all, 
is apt to be very clear; and this, it may be, is what the original 
means — money, visible value, visible power, "the guinea's stamp" 
to that effect, the "image and superscription" to that effect, the 
form of a fair instant, or of a frowning one. The glittering bait 
hangs full in sight. The reward of self-respect and self-sacrifice 
is invisible. With what firmness and decision Jackson made his 
choice, in the fullness of time, was thundered to the world. The 
shallow, mid-summer brook is thrown out of channel, by each 
recurring, trivial obstruction, and whichever way the wind blows, 
shivers into commotion and ululation. Jackson's life is borne 
forward, on the silent, strong life-currents, wherein, after sore 
struggle, he is destined to become one of the world's strong 
swimmers. Well for Jackson, well for mankind, so in need of 
great examples! This or that sweet wish of the bosom, or bril- 
liant seeming " Northwest passage to Enjoyment," was but an 
appearance thrown before an eager-hearted man to give him self- 
mastery Long since it had "consumed away, like as it were a 
moth fretting a garment," and his example remains, a possession 
forever. The Northwest business, with its midnight sun, and 
fires of gem-work and gold kindled therein, at last is anchored 
to an iceberg. Like the iceberg, it melts in the ray which causes 
it to glitter; a marigold, dying for the sun, and dying by it. 

A great man s course, on his way to greatness, is well known 
to be the greatest of all ocean charts. In this case, a great sailor, 
having little or nothing of the autobiographic turn, has left scant 
record of his soundings on the coast, as well as subsequent log- 
board. He is fairly launched on the great deep, as a flag-ship of 
mankind and master of the storm, before his sailing quality re- 
ceives due notice. Were it not for the steep wave he put behind, 
we would have no measure of his buffetings. As a revelation of 
the conscience of the South, by which the poor man of the South 
was actuated and pervaded, and as a testimony due to a cause 
which begot such a man and his example, I hold up this man to 
you for this instant. I hold him up as an example, sorely needed 
at this time, of one whose strength was strengthened by misfor- 
tune, whose life was one long wrestle with adversity, a choice of 
difficulties at every step, and the pursuit of high aims over them; 
a life, theiefore, which had to derive power from defeat, diligently 
note the cause of failure, and see that the same did not recur, 
often as it must recur before quite vanquished. I hold him up as 
one who learned, not with less hindrance than others, to curb his 
spirit within the iron links of the inexorable; who from the time 
of this first and greatest victory, after which other victories were 
easier, encountered life and life's imprisoning enchantments with 


drawn sword, which he held to by the sign of the Cross; in 
which sign he conquered; under which a world of sorcery cow- 
ered , under which the world, Mephistopheles, and the Prince of 
Darkness cowered. I hold him up as one who appears upon the 
scene (seems to have been possible then) just as our Book of 
Judges, or, if you please, our age of the Scipios, was closing, 
and on the threshold of the present universal stew In his time 
the forces were at work which were to shift the golden into the 
inflated paper age, and put upon the boards, the book, or better, 
the bladder, of Railroad Kings, and ballot-stuffed sovereignty 
of the people. Against these he was to fight, and die fighting, 
for the present, it would seem, unprevailingly Above all, and 
as all in all, I hold him up as a soldier of the truth, to his best 
ability to see it. Man is what he has been defined to be, a re- 
ligious animal, in proportion as he strives to know the truth, and, 
as a sequence, to perform it. By right conduct, founded on right 
views the healthy mind is satisfied, in no other way Jackson's 
views of truth were circumscribed, as those of all men are, by 
limitations of time and circumstance; but he has this indubitable 
sympton of a healthy mind : that his use for beliefs was to trans- 
late them into practice, verify them in act; that for him faith was 
an act, a thing not so much to talk by, as to walk by; that he 
lived by his belief as he did by his daily bread. The high idea 
of a spiritual universe, overarching and overruling the material 
frame of things, as the eternal substance of which the latter is 
but the shadow cast in time — this veritable real presence in re- 
ligion, without which all else is as dross, was for him a living, 
ever-present fact. The difference between men, the difference 
between minds, the difference between lives, is in this. "To be 
or not to be?" as Hamlet puts it, "that is the question," applica- 
ble to much else than mere self-slaughter of the flesh, but against 
which voluntary " not to be," in every aspect of it, "the ever- 
lasting hath fixed his canon." "To be" is to "take arms against 
a sea of troubles", undaunted to oppose them, in a world whose 
wave forever falls as hammer, when not beaten into anvil , where 
not to be victor is to be vanquished. It is a question which, in 
all aspects, Jackson decides with great emphasis in the affimative. 
The iron brow of duty, which early fills him with deep awe and 
veneration, grows majestically beautiful in time, and he learns to 
look upon it with a self-consecrating love and faith. Never did 
man more decisively renounce for himself, in this life, the plea- 
sures, avidities, and shows which could not follow him to the 
next. Looking on the firm, compressed lines of his face, and 
the gray, unyielding gaze which answers ours, almost with the 
fixed determination of a thing of steel — a most unshaken eve, 


"but through which pathetically glances the touch of a kindly 
light, as of the light of the everlasting Gospel, breaking through 
a world of difficult turmoil, sorrow, and long-enduring hope de- 
ferred — looking on his still, solemn face, one feels as though the 
iron brow hid passed into this human one. 

Here was a man to give the few the confidence of many Here 
was one to be a leader of that Confederate might, which, without 
music, without decorations, far removed from the glitter of "pomp 
and circumstance," in hunger and in rags, saw glory and duty, as 
the Puritan saw his God, through the bare walls of this meeting- 
house. His men were partakers of his stuff. He orders a squad 
to resist a column. The men obey, nothing doubting. Jackson 
orders, Jackson knows. The cry "Jackson!" breaks from the 
enemy, as he rises out of the ground behind them and their works. 
His name doubles his ranks. A little one becomes a thousand. 
So it is with discernment of time and circumstances. At Samo- 
sierra, the Spaniards planted sixteen pieces of artillery in the neck 
of the pass, so as to sweep the whole of the steep ascent. But 
Napoleon rides into the mouth of the pass, and seizing the mist 
of the morning for a casque, orders the Polish cavalry of his 
guard to charge through the vapor to the battery The first 
squadron is mowed down. Over them ride the remainder, sword 
in hand, up the mountain; Spanish infantry firing the while, on 
right and left, in lines one above another. When the Poles have 
sabred the gunners they have routed an army. The military 
critic feels bound to say, that the charge, "viewed as a simple 
military operation, was extravagantly rash." Thus substance dis- 
perses shadows, and stamps the difference between multitude and 
force. In the manifold field of life the royal eye, through the 
veil of circumstance, distinguishes the essential; seeing well the 
things around, is dazzled by none. To be daunted by none is 
next to, and consequent upon this. The knowledge of how to 
be strong, where the main issue lies, is the knowledge of all fields 
and all life. 

A man who makes realities his aim, and appearance^ his dis- 
dain, is strange, and set apart, accordingly Not under one Dis- 
pensation only, but under all Dispensations, God's people are "a 
peculiar people." 

To live in the sense of a higher accountability than any ful mi- 
nations of this earth, in the throng of plausibilities to be genuine, 
of hypocrisies to be devout, to be retiring among the Pharisees, 
faithful among the cravens, is eccentric necessarily. How should 
it be otherwise, with the carnal heart in its existing state of 
enmity? Is not the true man bound to say to specious sham, 
""Get thee behind me"? The resolute, genuine natures are the 


ones, at last, from which others borrow existence, around which 
others rally. The faithful few, obscure in the world, but great in 
their callings, are the shoulders which move the world. The 
heroes will always say to the trimmers, "We will bear the brunt, 
and leave you the plunder of the field" — the pleasant race of 
trimmers, the plausible, the supple! Plausible decorum, equally 
amiable and equally indifferent to all persons and all opinions, is 
not the stuff of which Jacksons are made. The world says of the 
Jackson, "He is narrow " But better to cleave a path for others 
to follow in, the narrows which are deep, than the expanse which 
is broad, because it is shallow. How are you to seduce, how 
intimidate such a man, when for him your menace, or your bribe, 
is but one more appearance which he knows how to despise? 

Such a man was Stonewall Jackson — a resolved, taciturn man, 
of decided, aquiline, rather uncomfortable ways; the more inex- 
pugnable, that they were sternly encased, in a life of prayer, as 
in a shirt of mail. Not a man to be popular, it is plain; not one 
to swim pleasantly with the current; one rather to cling faith- 
fully to the rock in the midst thereof, refusing to be swept away. 
He cannot wax himself to men and things. He is sincere, ad- 
heres without mercenary glue, or parts company. Yet what in 
history so touching, as the almost childlike reverence of Jackson 
for the real majesty of Lee? It is one of the highest praises of 
the latter, that in proportion as his subordinates were great, he 
was great to them. For one, I never see that picture of Lee and 
Jackson, in their last ride together by the Aldrich house, without, 
thinking that such a meeting is, in itself, one of the best and 
sweetest pictures of how greatness, of whatever rank, is the born 
brother of every other. At the two extremes of wealth and pov- 
erty we produce these two. The extremes meet, not in hate but 
in love, and, the facts deserving it, mutual respect and admira- 
tion. The two are blent together, by virtue of that which is in- 
herent and independent in them, by virtue of being the men 
they were. Merit, whether it descended from the highest, or 
ascended from the lowest, was free and equal in that South be- 
fore the war. 

The day was at hand which was to draw the recluse from his 
retreat, and witness his coronation before a gazing and a gaping 
world; when he who had sown to reality repeated realities. The 
shadows felt in him their substance, when they heard his word of 
command, amid the thunders of the captains. The world within 
him was greater than the world without him. Did enemies 
encompass, and storm in upon him? With his right hand, he 
smote them to ruins. He does the utmost, who standing- on him- 
self, stands true to himself, and therefore not falsely but faith- 


fully to others. He is the greatest, who having most to over- 
come, overcomes it. All honor to him, who from the lowly made 
himself the lofty, from the feeble made himself the mighty, made 
the one talent ten, and a world all hostile to his weakness, all 
vassal to his greatness. Here, in the Wilderness, it was, that he, 
who had put all other enemies under foot, over death also rose 
victorious; folded the banner of victory, for time and for eternity, 
inextricably about him as he fell. That ether of memory and 
imagination, which throws its purple on the past, floated from his 
shoulders as we gazed. The shadow of a cloud passed over him, 
behind which the sun was shining. It might have been said at 
his grave, as the Earl of Morton said at that of John Knox, " He 
lies there who never feared the face of man." He rests there, 
with a star, Valor's star, upon his breast; for him henceforth, a 
star of peace. He himself is now become a star, on the great 
bosom of Eternity. His long warfare is over; "he has fought 
the good fight." The sore conflicts and bruises under the strait- 
ened yoke of time, its whips and its scorns, will gall him never- 
more. He can survey them unmoved now, from that last bosom 
wherein he rests, and the revenges of time are furled. 

Beautiful effect of a true life! beautiful event of our century! 
the story of Jackson crossing the Atlantic, and spreading among 
generous English hearts, comes back to us, in the speaking im- 
age of a hero. English gentlemen, stamping, in imperishable 
art, the imperishable idea of a Jackson, place it on this Square, a 
monument to him and to them, and to an artist worthy of his 

"He has lost his left arm; I have lost my right," were the 
generous words of Lee when he heard of Jackson's -wounds. 
The blood of all the heroes flowed in those words over those 
wounds. It was as if, for the moment, like the patriarch of old, 
Lee had reversed his hands, and made the dexterous lieutenant 
of his left his active right, and the less adroit Longstreet the 
virtual left. But to sit on the right hand, or the left hand, of so 
much glory, were fame enough. And now it is given 1 1 Long- 
street, in a similar movement, not far from the same spot, by 
another fire from our own men, to be felled in the front of 
triumph. It was his last, as it was his greatest battle. I well 
remember the deep, respectful silence, with which the First how- 
itzers pressed to the side of the road, as a white ambulance 
passed by, knowing well whom it bore. Had Longstreet's wound 
proved also mortal, his niche of fame stood ready for him. 
Weeping Commonwealths would have acccompanied his bier. 
The chivalry and beauty of a mourning land would have been 
companions at his tomb. His cypress would have been a laurel. 


Longstreet survived for quite other destinies, and so left Jack- 
son — alone in his glory. 

I said in the beginning that our whole past had been cut into 
clear, firm character by the chisel of war. Equally true is it that 
the future, and our bearing therein, will be the most effectual 
commentary on our conduct in the war. The future will de- 
termine whether the proportions of that day shall fall about our 
people like a decent robe, or whether posterity shall turn skeptic 
in applying the armor of a giant past to the body of a living 
dwarf. They who have exclusively the past to be proud of, in 
the accumulation of their vouchers, provide a measure for their 
defection and decadence. Such have been likened to potatoes, 
by far whose best part is under ground. An inordinate Irish- 
man, tracing his genealogy, paused in the course of his memoirs 
to say, " Here the world was created." But a not wholly incom- 
mensurable appetite can appease itself, as Chesterfield entertained 
himself, by placing, among the portraits of his ancestors, two old 
heads inscribed "Adam de Stanhope" and "Eve de Stanhope." 
" Every man," says Sancho Panza, " is the son of his own works." 
Perhaps the most sorrowful fate which can overtake a people is 
when a tradition of old greatness, in truth, the mockery, is ac- 
cepted as the solace of downfall and humiliation. The proud 
past is a robe of scorn to the unequal present. 

There are some who dispose of the whole matter of the war, 
in a very off-hand manner. "What did we make by it?" they 
ask, conscious that the pecuniary returns are in a state of great 
backwardness. It is as if one were to ask of Milton's great 
poem, "How much did he get for it?" And yet heroic writing 
is a small thing by the side of heroic living and dying. William 
Attig, engineer upon the Philadelphia and Erie railroad, with the 
air-brakes on, and. his hand upon the throttle, kept off death 
from every other, while it steamed down upon himself. Was 
the subscription for his widow what he made by it? Those threp 
hundred Spartans who, on a summer morning, in the passes of 
Thermopylae, "sat combing their long hair for death" — what did 
they make by it ? What did Joan of Arc make by it, with the 
Inquisition cap upon her head, burned to death for a witch, her 
ashes thrown into the Seine? What did Wallace make by it, 
betrayed, beheaded, his body quartered and impaled on London 
Bridge, a green garland on his head to crown him outlaw king? 
She seated the descendant of Saint Louis for three centuries on 
his throne. She and her maiden sword, she and her consecrated 
banner, she and her beauty risen from her ashes, pure as the 
lilies of France and magnificent as the oriflamme, make the 
France of to-day beautiful to Frenchmen. And Wallace! He 


and the Scots who bled with him, made the independent mind of 
Scotland too strong for any subjugation, they made her inde- 
pendence real, and her subjugation superficial, and left the name 
of Wallace "a wild flower all over his dear country." They 
sowed for the immortal gods. Defeat for duty is better than 
victory over it. My belief is that great things are never done 
for what can be made by them. Their returns are not contained 
in such sordid measure. Reputation wrung from the cannon's 
mouth is not a bubble. 

There have been latter-day patriots who have avowed their 
intention to " make treason odious"; no insignificant intent, on 
their part, considering how many of earth's greatest have con- 
spired to make it glorious, when the "treason" in question has 
meant resistance to authority believed to be unlawful, and known 
to be injurious, which is the definition in the latter-day case. 
Our earlier Presidents called it "obedience to God." The Tory 
Allison can give lessons in liberalism to the latter-day variety. 
"The feelings of mankind," he writes, "have never stigmatized 
mere treason as a crime." And again, speaking of the Count 
Bathiany : " History must ever mourn the death upon the scaffold 
of any man of a noble cheracter, combatting for what in sincerity 
he believed to be the cause of duty." The feelings of mankind 
and our earlier Presidents have a great deal in their favor. First, 
to take all pains to know aright what our duty is, and then to 
fight for it in all weather, is what we are here to do. Mere con- 
querors who have taken no such pains are not our judges, but 
our visitation for not more warily and desperately fighting. 
"The murderer has but his hour," said Lamartine of the fate of 
the Duke d'Enghien; "his victim has all eternitv " 

Truth, it may be well to state, has never been bastilled nor 
carried by coup d'etat. With what a satire, does accusing and 
avenging time laugh to scorn the executions of the hour. In 
some English engravings, under the heads of Sir Thomas More, 
Sir Walter Raleigh, Russel, and Sidney, there is engraved an axe, 
to signify that in their day these were beheaded. But how fares 
it with their renown? Is that beheaded? Or is it consecrated 
by the nobility of a peculiar dearness? There is no face in the 
Corcoran Art Gallery before which more reverent footsteps pause 
than that of Charlotte Corday. The pen, mightier than the sword 
of the executioner, is in her hands, with which she has written, 
"The crime, not the scaffold, makes the shame." What a sure 
hand it is! "Mere treason" in this case is not the crime. The 
crime is to be a " savage wild beast " (to be Marat, /'ami dn pcuplc), 
feeding on human heads, who. God be praised! has been slain by 
this Norman girl. She stands behind her grated window, through 


which she looks, with a still, deep pathos, piercing all hearts, 
from the blue heaven of eyes whose sun is setting fast, whose 
earthly sun, indeed, in seeming, still trembling on the horizon, in 
reality, already, is below it, leaving a setting sun's light upon the 
face. A look of eternity is gazing far over this restless earth 
into eternity. With her last hold upon earth clasped upon her 
prison grate, one almost fancies the thorn halo upon the brow 
leant thereon, which the iron seems to enter; a halo, whose 
radiance down-glancing bestows, by a two-fold but not divided 
light, tenderness and grandeur. The warmth of a sweetly-in- 
trepid soul hovers, for the last time, upon a breast which her 
neckerchief not quite conceals. The bravest heart in France 
beats under the fairest bosom. She lives on canvas, an image of 
the soul, passionately, but invincibly, gazing through the bars of 
its prison-house in the flesh, as a bird imprints his breast-feathers 
against the imprisoning wires of his cage. We, in America, send 
for this warm, sweet soul of Normandy, and place it in the front 
of art. 

What is it makes the real odiousness of treason? Whether it 
be high treason, whether it be petit treason , whether it be against 
society, against marriage, or any other relation of contract or 
affection; is not the essence of it, that which makes it detestable, 
this : that it is perfidy, betrayal, a breach of faith that is owed 
and pretended; in a word, that is treacherous? The essence of 
it is falseness, an alliance or allegiance which is an an acted lie. 
The definition is as old as the Mirror, and older; treason happens 
only between allies; arises where there is a subsisting natural, 
civil, or spiritual relation. A public and authoritative announce- 
ment, that a voluntary alliance, between free and equal contract- 
ing commonwealths, shall subsist no longer, is not an act of 
treachery, especially, if the reason for revoking on one side be 
the practical and statutory abrogation on the other. It is the 
reverse of treachereous; it is putting another on his guard, say- 
ing to him, "Take notice, we are no longer allies; we are aliens." 
The Roman word is proditio — the giving forth of an appearance 
which has no backbone of reality. One living in the guise of 
friendly association and confidence, furtively stabs you under the 
fifth rib. Open war the brave man accepts as his discipline. 
Insidious, perfidious guile he is less apt to prepare for. Wash- 
ington fighting at the head of the Rebels against George III is 
a true man. Arnold fighting in the ranks of the loyal for George 
III is a traitor. It may be admitted that deceit is a terrible evil. 
Closely considered, and including self-deceit, it is the sum and 
substance of all that is most pernicious. It is the Devil's own 
image. As we live, there is but one thing to do with it — to beat 


it down under our feet, and not comfort it when fallen. •Would 
you know whether a deed is vile or not? Ask yourself the ques- 
tion, whether the traits of it are cowardice and lies, treachery or 
poltroonery to what is professed and believed; in either case 
hiding, under a false appearance, the fearfulness or the disguise 
of fact — the last a subtler, sometimes a coarser form of fear. In 
proportion as these are the traits it is vile. In proportion as 
these are not, not. Are you willing for the light to shine upon 
your deeds, or must they be shrouded in darkness? is the test. 
Man does walk by faith; hence the worst thing you can say of a 
man is that he is perfidious, diligently seems the thing he is not, 
and so betrays, by what he is, the confidence bestoweed on what 
he seems. To be a man, with a man's sense of accountability, 
is one of the very greatest commandments. 

What, then, was the crime of the Southern States? Was it 
that after having reiterated in season, and out of season, shouting 
the same loudly from the house-tops, that they would resume 
the powers, conditionally granted by them to the General Gov- 
ernment, whenever the same should be perverted to their injury, 
when the day of trial came they were recreant; was it this? Was 
it that after having affirmed that they had given their adhesion, 
not to a law higher than the constitution, nor lower than the con- 
stitution, but to the constitution, the whole constitution, and noth- 
ing but the constitution; and that whenever such "higher law" 
laid hold of the Government, they would let go; when the event 
happened, they swallowed their words; was it this? No, it was 
not this. Their offence was, that to the unspeakable abomina- 
tion of their enemies, they made good their words, would not 
equivocate oath and conscience, did what they said they would 
do. And how? In silence, in darkness, with Masonic secrecy 
and rites? No, this thing was not done in a corner. In broad 
day, State after State went to the polls to vote upon the peril and 
the duty of the hour. In broad day, their representatives as- 
sembled themselves in conventions, and their proceedings in the 
daily press, that no man might be ignorant. In broad day, 
Senator after Senator rose in the Capitol and said, " Your Morrill 
tariff construction, your lobby and jobbery construction, your 
States passing laws that the constitution is a dead letter, your 
'higher law' construction, is no law for us, and in the nature of 
thing's cannot be. ' We agreed to form this Union,' vou sav. 
Grant that we agreed to form, at least, the Union. What then? 
Did we agree that it should be absolute, irrevocable, unappealable, 
not only for the generation agreeing, but for all generations ? Do 
men calling themselves republicans hold that we did? Why, a 
king can give no more than his own; may resign his own throne, 


if he like, but less certainly than that of his offspring. And you 
have the hardihood to say that we, equals contracting with 
equals — we who being solicited, entreated, assured, guaranteed — 
gave our consent to certain conditions of union upon the very 
construction on which we are now acting, that we thereby clasped 
a handcuff of steel upon our wrists forever? Why, the law is, 
that no contract shall last forever. Say that you found your right 
of action on a contract meant to be perpetual, and the Supreme 
Court will laugh in your face. Rightly, for what man, or what 
number of men, can so read the future as justly to bind the un- 
born of all time? Least of all should they maintain such a doc- 
trine who utterly refuse to be bound themselves. We use the 
language of your own Webster, in prospect of the very case 
which has arisen, that 'a bargain broken on one side is broken 
on all sides,' and say you have broken the bargain on all sides. 
Fourteen of your States having passed laws saying that the bar- 
gain shall be inoperative as to them, how can you expect it to be 
altogether sacred to us ? We cannot bring you to our views, nor 
will we surrender the law to your discretion. If your consciences 
cannot bear the sin of suffering us to hold the slaves which you 
sold to us, we will relieve your consciences of all participation 
therein. You shall have no more concern in the matter than in 
the institutions of Brazil. Saying good-bye to you, we will re- 
vive over ourselves the Union our ancestors ordained; 'the civil, 
the moral, the federal liberty,' for which Washington fought, for 
which Jefferson, Henry and Mason insisted, and which Marshall 
and Hamilton conceded as a fact. For this we mean to stand 
with the hazard of our lives. All outnumbered and outclamored 
as we are, God help us, we can do no other." Make the worst 
of this "treason," you can never make it other than manly, and 
frank, and true. Southern secession came, not to destroy, but to 

"Caught with arms in their hands" is what was said of us 
afterwards. And how else should brave men be "caught" than 
"with arms in their hands" when all that is dear to them, and all 
that should be dear to them, is assailed? It passes the power of 
any statute to make this "odious," save to the pusillanimous and 
corrupt. To fight manfully for your faith in right is intrinsically 
not "odious"; it is very nearly the whole duty of man. We 
were brought to the ring, and the world has seen how we could 

Undoubtedly there is a treason which is odious; being so, no 
statute, no verdict, no failure to impeach can make it otherwise. 
Let no man doubt this. There is a treason which is deadly; 
being so, no physic of legislation, and standing by it "under 


fire," can make it healthy; not the avowed, open treason to 
usurpation, not the treason of the glorious Rebels who are fol- 
lowed by "the sweet remembrance of the just" — the paradoxical 
treason which is true; not this. The deadly treason is caught, 
not "with arms in its hands," but with a smile on its lips. 
Patriots, who, with unheard of love of country, bend the bow of 
legislation, so as to make it shoot straight into their own pockets, 
these are the deadly traitors; they who place votes "where they 
will do most good." To their country? No; to bank accounts 
which they protest against having to account for. The treason 
which walks by your side and thrives on your spoliation, which 
from behind a marble desk of supremacy, or other "inside track," 
knocks down law to the highest bidder, do you not see how 
baleful this polished, plausible treason must be; how it changes 
the rod of empire into a serpent; how it makes of government 
a nest of serpents stinging the veins of the people on whom they 
fasten ? The detestable treason is that which dips in the same 
dish with you, and salutes with a kiss; and now the treason 
which the builders rejected, the rebuilders have made the corner 
stone! They are not the most meet to make treason of any kind 
odious, who have made fraud of every kind glorious. " Clear 
and round dealing" in any department of life, even that of forci- 
ble resistance, is not the great danger to society. It is "the lie 
that sinketh in, and settleth in it, that doth the hurt." Yes, the 
evil men of this world are not the ones who sincerely battle for 
their duty, but the insincere who do not. 

No, latter-day patriots should give over their purpose to " make 
treason odious." Somebody should remonstrate with them. To 
borrow the needed word, they will find it a most Herculean labor 
for very unherculean backs. The halo, which Washington and 
others have thrown around the name of Rebel (which did apply 
to Washington and not to us) will have to be revoked, if at all, 
by an instrument of equal dignity But if a magnanimous power 
were seriously to bestir itself to make fraud odious, instead of 
releasing it from the four quarters, and from the hind quarters, to 
sit at the receipt of custom! John Bright said in 1861 : "When 
I state that, for many years past, the annual public expenditure 
of the Government of the United States has been between £\o,- 
000,000 and ,£15,000,000,1 need not, 'perhaps, say further, that 
there has always existed amongst all the population an amount 
of comfort, and prosperity, and abounding plenty, such as I be- 
lieve no other country has enjoyed." So it was. So it is not 
now We have received "moral ideas," been "educated up"; 
but comparatively honest dealing between man and man, and 
therewith "comfort, prosperity, abounding plenty" amongst all 


classes have been educated down. The laboring" man of the 
North has been "planted on the side of freedom" — of freedom, 
among other things, to be turned out of food and raiment, and 
have an increase of the army held over his head to shoot him 
down when restive. Of taxes, burdens, swift, central financiering 
over public spoil, there is plenty. Of freedom to steal like the 
devil, there is an abounding plenty Never was it plainer that 
for man to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow is cursed. 
But the negro in the South can still do, what the laboring man 
elsewhere finds it so hard to do — get himself supported by a 
fair day's work. What if the future decide that the world, as 
usual, has judged by appearances? What if the future shall 
say, that what the world called slavery, railed against as such, 
rolling up the whites of quite worldly eyes, in horror that such 
a thing should exist, stands forth as a patriarchal, beneficent re- 
lation, the kindest for the slave, as he came to us, not as French's 
"rights of man" fain would have him come, and what is now 
lauded to the skies, as "freedom," be exhibited, as a cruel, grasp- 
ing smive qui Pent, and Devil take the hindmost, the most sordid, 
the most heartless of all tyranny, the one which most degrad- 
ingly, and least pitifully, shoves the weakest to the wall, and 
keeps him there — that which oscillates between mere numbers 
and mere dollars? Wolves, it is said, have greatly increased in 
Russia since the emancipation of the serfs, and now number 
some two hundred thousand, whose annual consumption of flesh, 
including that of human beings, is twenty-three hundred weight 
per head. In other ways, what is baptized with the fine names 
of freedom and philanthropy is only too apt to substitute, for one 
traffic in human flesh, another more bitter. Most plaintive was 
the speech of a Lowell factory girl, some years ago, at a wo- 
man's rights convention, in Washington, that no condition of a 
Southern slave was ever so cruel as her's. 

A portion of the North begin to recognize, that the views of 
strict construction are not so pernicious after all ; show signs of 
feeling their own need to interpose the shield of State sover- 
eignty, against a roaring deluge of fallacy. The more thoughtful 
North stands aghast at the undesired results "coming home to 
roost," of the utter overthrow of all the stability of society, in 
order to wreak vengeance. The more thoughtful North is 
stretching out a hand for the character, and high, even if haughty, 
tone of sincere opinion, once common at the South, which, if 
not proof against passion, was against bribery, and helped to 
make the country a fortress of free hearts, whence rang the clear 
challenge of a republic. The old constitutional guarantees, the 
old ramparts have been carried. A constitution (not clearly 


written) powerful for injury, powerless for redress; powerful to 
send troops and mercenary creatures to falsify the votes of States, 
powerless to correct, or even attempt to correct, the certain false- 
hood, for the present, has "changed all that." The light of 
those tall forms, which stood in the breaches of the Constitution 
to hurl impetuous defiance on its foes, is buried quite. The for- 
tress of free hearts lies clean behind us, dead, forgotten; the old 
defenders gone, the old invincibles. The thoughtful North 
stretches out its hands to-day for that spirit, which a thoughtless 
North has done its best (or its worst) to quench and silence. 
The long walls of Athens were rebuilt, with the aid of the Boeo- 
tians and other volunteers, who eleven years earlier had danced to 
the sound of joyful music, when the former walls were demol- 
ished. Thus sometimes the conqueror crowns the conquered, 
when the conquered are true to themselves. Thaunus mentions 
a minister, who having long been persecuted by his enemies, at 
length triumphed, quia se non dcsernit. 

Old grammarians were wont to say, that right was the past 
participle of the verb regerc, to rule; and thus it is that virtue is 
strength, manhood. The force by which strength is equipped for 
its battle is virtue. The King of the State is the Rex of it, the 
very right of it — champion and captain of the right. He who 
collects in himself, embosoms and enforces that which is wisest 
and best, he is the king, in office or out of office. He is the ex- 
pression of the better nature of the State, the captain of it and 
the child, by virtue of which his right to rule is divine. Under 
him royalty and loyalty, or law-alty, become reciprocal. A brave 
old word this loyalty, though sadly profaned of late, because it 
does not mean subservience to Kings, or Presidents, or Con- 
gresses, or Unions; but faithfulness to law. Veracity, rectitude, 
business method, intrepid justice, these are the strong indomi- 
table things. These are the rulers of men, or else revolution 
comes, because they are not so. Falsehood, dishonest} 7 , immethod, 
venal, cowardly indifference, these are the weak things, the shal- 
low things, and abomination and anarchy are born of them. The 
laws of nature are "caught with arms in their hands," and sel- 
dom or never lay them down, whatever the "inside track" men 
may object. The flaming sword of the universe is never "a dead 
issue." All this about arbitrament of war, true enough, perhaps, 
in a comprehensive sense, is, in some applications of it, extremely 
shallow. The arbitraments arrived at, "when laws are silent," 
when all consideration and discussion of the right is told to hold 
its tongue, are always questionable, and liable to serious revision. 
A King of England conquered a discordant French nation, be- 
cause it was discordant; which, thereupon, under compulsion 


crowned the conqueror. The thing settled was, that, at the time 
of the invasion, England was strong and France was weak, and 
that, as a nation's strength is, so shall her day be. In a subtle 
sense, "he that liveth by the sword" (by brute force, violation of 
right) "shall perish by the sword." "A right," says Coke, "can 
never die — dormit aliqnando,jus moritur nunqiiam. For of such 
an high estimation is right in the eye of the law, as the law pre- 
serveth it from death and destruction; trodden down it may be, 
but never trodden out." Yes, the right does not go down; does 
not stay down, at least. It does not truly sleep, but only seems 
to sleep. Whatever mean and base thing pollutes it goes down. 
The too haughty assertion of it goes down. Whatever abuses 
and excesses are covered by the flag of its adherents, their "neg- 
ligences and ignorances," their fierce taunts and invectives, go 
down, but not the right, forever. We may prove that we are 
unworthy to be the champions of the right, but not that the 
right is unworthy of a champion. The mercy of the right is 
upon us, as our trust is in it. The service of it is freedom. Free- 
dom, let me say once more, is the free dominion of the law. 

Unless we are to sink into'hopeless Mexican anarchy and Ring 
ruin, out of panic bankruptcy will yet be lifted "the Federal 
Union." But should this happen, that our principles come again 
to the front, and we not behind them; but opposing them, have 
the convictions, consecrated by our blood, thrown in our teeth 
by those who trod them down ! This much has not ceased to be 
credible: Trodden dozvn they may be, but never trodden out! 

We are few in the midst of many enemies. The black ocean 
of implacable hate swells all around us. At its own weapons 
we cannot foil it. The much-vaunted "fighting the Devil with 
fire" is a poor game, and a sadly unequal one. Give the Devil 
choice of pistols, and he will be apt to shoot you first. Fallacies 
and chicaneries fight only for the father of such. It becomes us, 
It becomes all men, but chiefest them who fight under an adverse 
star, to see and believe, that the moral victory over material 
ascendancy is never out of reach. No disparity of force can 
snatch that from us. Public opinion is the moral victory of the 
few over the many. Be the faithful few, and the faithless many 
will be your footstool. In the sophistry of mind and manners, 
to be intellectually honest and brave; in the recrimination, and 
anarchic fratricide, of capital and labor elsewhere, to keep our 
own society first just, then, as a consequence, peaceful and 
strong; in the hanging garden of appearance to be real: herein 
is true strength. 

Had the Southern Historical Society done nothing- else than ex- 
pose, what has been termed, "one of the boldest and baldest at- 


tempted outrages on the truth of history which has ever been 
essayed," that which relates to the treatment of prisoners at 
Andersonville, it would have deserved the gratitude of all lovers 
of truth. The boldest and baldest truly! 220,000 Southern 
prisoners are-*in the North; two hundred and seventy thousand 
Northern prisoners are in the South; the North abounds in re- 
sources; the South laid waste, anything but abounding; for three 
weeks in the early part of 1864 unable to issue rations of meat 
to her soldiers in the field. Yet, with fifty thousand more pris- 
oners in Southern stockades, the deaths are four thousand less; 
nine per cent, the death rate in the South, twelve per cent, in the 
North. The South, using every humane argument, entreats the 
North to take back the prisoners at Andersonville. The ruling 
authority says, "No; my policy of wearing you out by attrition 
demands that these men be not taken back. The more of our 
men you have to feed, the fewer of your own you will be able to 
feed. Humanity to the men left in our ranks demands that our 
prisoners continue to prey upon your vitals." " We are unable 
to provide your prisoners with suitable clothing," we said to 
Secretary Seward; "will you provide them?" "The Federal 
Government does not supply clothing to prisoners of war," re- 
plied the Secretary Tried by their own standard, it is seen that 
our care of their prisoners was exceptionally kind. Nevertheless, 
after the war a victim is demanded. A group of citizens, " organ- 
ized to convict," unknown to the law, prohibited by the law, 
hears what evidence it likes, refuses to hear what may operate 
against the end in view, renders the presence of counsel nugatory, 
and in due season proceeds to murder the victim, no form or 
principle of law being at anytime consulted. " Military com- 
missions never disappoint the expectations of those who employ 
them." It is the act of Macbeth, smearing the daggers of the 
guard with the blood his own hands have spilled. Defend your 
great days. 

A poem of human life our battle of the Wildernes easily be- 
comes, fought as it was in the rough brake, and the deep shadow. 
and the fierce death glare. As you strike with intelligent unity 
and decision, determined to conquer or die, you do conquer even 
though you die. At all times the strongest is but as a reed 
shaken with the wind, quivering in the play of forces which 
threaten or entreat. Not alone of memory may it be said, " Ihou, 
like the world, the oppressed, oppressing." The forces around 
human life are so. A world of forces, yielding, and taking the 
shape we give, harsh and heavy when we quail or sink, wraps 
itself around each, to bear or forbear as victory inclines. Does 
supineness intervene? The load of a mountain is hung about 


the neck. Does a cheery heart stiffen the spinal column? The 
hard adversity melts away, or curves into an arch of triumph. 
"Two afflictions well put together," says the proverb, "shall be- 
come a consolation." A poem of human life, I say. Under the 
warm touch, the stern fact of these two days moulds itself into 
a symbol of imagination for the mind's eye: as such is a reality; 
not for one place and time only, but for all places, from genera- 
tion to generation. 

The life of to-day has not ceased to be faithful to the old sim- 
iles of the Wilderness and warfare. Our life is a battle and a 
march. We fight once more in "continual, poisoned fields," 
where, it may be, are many greatly discontented with the Wil- 
derness, and very greatly indeed preferring the flesh-pots of any 
other country Solemnly as ever a mother State says to each: 
"With your shield or upon it." We have chiefly to see to it, 
that when we are borne from the field, it shall be with the banner 
of a honorable day, and a pious hope, flung over us, and a music 
of gentle deeds to commemorate us when we are gone. So fares 
it with our cause. It sleeps well now, as a dead man might, with 
a stone for his pillow. So fares it with a cause, henceforth all eno- 
bled for us, by honorable death on the field; guarded henceforth 
by the army of the dead, whose dead march the muffled drum 
of living hearts is beating. A hero cause borne on its shield to 
the grave of hero death, pierced with wounds, for us is lovely; 
covered with reproach, for us is pure; crowned with thorns, for 
us is holy We will never weave a grander oriflamme to be our 
fair image of duty and the path to it. We are on duty stilL 
Remember the Wilderness! how we struck in forlorn valor; fight- 
ing for a world's cause, in the midst of a world's indifference, 
when we grappled in those lonely gleams and shadows, as, from 
age to age, the true heart flights. When was the hero's battle 
other than a lonely battle? Remember the whole war! 

Tenderly beautiful to-night, in its tears and for them, with the 
sweet, pathetic beauty of our last sad farewells, is that great 
memory, which draws us here, and gathers all hearts in one. 
The saddest, sternest of all faces — the face of the irrevocable — 
stares on us from those farewells — farewells of hope, farewells of 
valor, farewells wrung out, not in speech, but in silence and 
closed lips, in battle and in night, when the very stars glittered 
icy cold on the field of the slain. The spring and summer of a 
people's manhood, the manly sweetness of the warrior boy, the 
beautiful simplicity we shall never see again on this earth, the 
unbought valor, which fronted a world in arms, and died front- 
ing—to all these our chivalrous farewell! Not till all noble grace 
departs will their memory depart! Last Sunday I stood again, 


where Gregg's Texans put on immortality; where Kershaw led 
in person three of his brigades, to compensate them for the ab- 
sence of the fourth ; where the three brigades under Mahone 
charged whooping through the woods. Out of the mist of years 
I almost seemed to see the faces, and out of the buried din to 
hear the voices, of the past, speaking those old languages, so 
frank, so brave, so unapproachably dear, just because they are 
gone, and return no more. They died that we might not live in 
vain. It is for us so to live, that they shall not have died in vain. 
And if, to-night, this voice from the ranks could reach the lead- 
ers, who now marshal the way before us, I would say, " Look 
there! See what the noble in man can do! At your peril op- 
pose to it the ignoble in man. Appeal once more to the watch- 
words of the past, to our courage and our conscience, if you 
would renew for us, and for yourselves, the laurel of the past. 
Once more quit yourselves like men. The white plume of the 
ages, the flag of your duty summons you there. The martyred 
valor of the South fell, as it was charging right onward there. 
There, by the side now of his last captain, and of ours, is Jack- 
son, 'standing like a stone wall'!" 

Finely has it been said of him whose followers we all were, 
that in the quiet hall of the professor, he renewed the war, trans- 
ferring it to the sphere of mind. In this high sphere, fight we 
ever, as in his eye. To walk firmly in duty, bravely in principle, 
honestly in conviction, at all times, is the first business of a man. 
We will have enough to do to prove that the plow-share of our 
peace is of the same metal, which went into the glorious sword 
of our war. With us, or without us, history will say, that in an 
age whose greatest fiction was "without a hero," there were two 
Virginians, worthy to be named by the side of Phocion and 
Epaminondas. It is in our power to cause it to be added, that 
the South was greater in defeat than her enemies in victory; that, 
indeed, the difference between the North and South was not so 
much a difference between victory and defeat, as it was a differ- 
ence between successs and glory It may be well not to be too 
certain which scale will kick the beam, with Grant, Sherman, 
Sheridan, and success all on one side; but defeat and Robert 
Lee, death and Stonewall Jackson, all on the other. As plainly 
enough now stares us in the face, the insolent hope of sapping 
by corruption the principles, which could not be overcome by 
force, I am tempted to say to you, as our great captain said to us 
all, in the trenches of Hagerstown: "Soldiers! your old enemy 
is before you. Win from him honor, worth}' your right cause,, 
worthy your comrades, dead on so many illustrious fields." 


On motion of General D. H. Maury, seconded by General J. 
A. Early, the Association spread on its record a feeling and ap- 
propriate tribute to the memory of General Nathan Bedford 
Forrest, who had died on the 29th of October. Both General 
Maury and General Early pronounced fitting eulogies on the 
great "Wizard of the saddle." 

On motion of General Early, the same officers were, unani- 
mously and by acclimation, elected for the ensuing year. 


A splendid banquet was spread to-night at the Saint Claire 
Hotel, and after disposing of the rich viands in a style worthy of 
the reputation of "hungry Rebels," the President announced the 
regular toasts, which were responded to in eloquent and telling 
speeches by Colonel James H. Skinner, Colonel Hilary P Jones, 
Doctor J. S. D. Cullen, Judge Farrar, Colonel Berkley, General 
Early, General W S. Walker, General Robert Ransom, General 
J. R. Cooke, Colonel H. E. Peyton, and others. 


On the night of October 30th, 1878, a brilliant audience 
crowded into the State capitol at Richmond, and was called to 
order by the President, General W H. F Lee. 

The meeting was opened with prayer by Rev. Dr. J. Wm. Jones. 

General Lee then made an exceedingly felicitous address of 
welcome, and appropriately introduced as orator of the evening, 
Colonel William Allan, of McDonough School, Maryland, form- 
erly of Jackson's staff, and Chief of Ordnance of the Second 
corps, Army of Northern Virginia. 

Colonel Allan was received with loud applause, and was fre- 
quently applauded as he delivered the following address : 


After the disastrous termination of Braddock's campaign against 
Fort Duquesne, in the summer of 1756, Colonel George Washing- 
ton, to whom was entrusted the duty of protecting the Alleghany 
frontier of Virginia from the French and Indians, established him- 
self at Winchester, in the lower Shenandoah Valley, as the point 
from which he could best protect the district assigned to him. 
Here he subsequently built Fort Loudoun, and made it the base of 
his operations. A grass-ground mound, marking the site of one 
of the bastions of the old fort, and Loudoun street, the name of 
the principal thoroughfare of the town, remain to recall an im- 
portant chapter in Colonial history. 

It was this old town that Major-Gencral T. J. Jackson entered 
on the evening of November 4, 1 861, as commander of the Vallcy 
district, and his headquarters were established within musket-shot 
of Fort Loudoun. He had been made Major-General on October 
7 for his services at the first battle of Manassas, and was now as- 
signed to this important command because of the expectations 
formed of his capacity, and because of his acquaintance with the 
country His district embraced the territory bounded north by 
the Potomac, east by the Blue Ridge, and west by the Allegha- 
nies. Born and reared in Western Virginia, and filled with a pa- 
triot's devotion to the land of his birth, he had manifested a strong 
desire to be employed in the operations in that region, and had 
cherished the ambition of freeing his former home from hostile 


domination. The Confederates, during the summer, had. in that 
region been unsuccessful. General Robert Garnctt had been 
forced to retreat by General McClellan, and bad then met defeat 
and death at Corrick's ford on Cheat river, July 13th. This gave 
the Federals control of the greater part of Virginia west of the 
Alleghanies, and the subsequent efforts of Generals Floyd and 
Wise, and still later of General Lee, availed only to prevent 
further encroachments of the enemy — not to regain the lost ter- 

When, therefore, General Jackson assumed command of the 
Valley of Virginia, the enemy had possession of all the State 
north of the great Kanawha and west of the Alleghanies, and 
had pushed their outposts into that mountain region itself, and 
in some cases eastward of the main range. Thus, General Kelly 
had captured Romney, the county seat of Hampshire, forty miles 
west of Winchester, and now occupied it with a force of five 
thousand men.* This movement gave the Federals control of 
the fertile valley of the south branch of the Potomac. Another, 
though much smaller force, occupied Bath, the county seat of 
Morgan, forty miles due north of Winchester, while the north 
bank of the Potomac was everywhere guarded by Union troops. 
The Baltimore and Ohio railroad was open and available for the 
supply of the Federal troops from Baltimore to Harper's Ferry, 
and again from a point opposite Hancock westward. The section 
of this road of about forty miles from Harper's Ferry to Han- 
cock, lying for the most part some distance within the Virginia 
border, had been interrupted and rendered useless by the Con- 
federates, but this gap was now supplied by the Chesapeake and 
Ohio canal, which was open all the way from Cumberland, Mary- 
land, to Georgetown in the District of Columbia. 

The plan of operations, that Jackson had conceived for regain- 
ing West Virginia, was to move along the Baltimore and Ohio 
railroad and the turnpikes parrallel to it, and thus enter Western 
Virginia at the northeastern end. In this way he could turn the 
left flank of the enemy's forces, place himself on their commu- 
nications, and force them to evacuate or fight under circumstances 
of his own selection. Having seen how his predecessors had 
been hampered in trying to operate from Staunton westward, by 
the difficult and inaccessible nature of the country, composed 
almost entirely of mountains destitute of supplies, and pene- 
trated by nothing but indifferent wagon roads, he was anxious to 
try a mode of approach which, if more exposed to the enemy, 
had the advantage of being easier, of lying through a much more 

•Rosecraus' testimony before "Committee on the Conduct of the War," volume III, 1865, 
*age 14. 


populous and cultivated region, of affording to some extent the 
use of a railroad for supplies, and which would soon place him 
in the midst of some of the most fertile parts of West Virginia. 
In order to carry out this scheme, he asked for his old brigade, 
which had been left at Manassas, and that all the forces operating 
along the line of the Alleghanies southwest of Winchester, and 
lately commanded by General Lee, should be concentrated under 
his command. This would have given him fifteen thousand or 
sixteen thousand men — the least force with which he thought it 
possible to undertake so bold an enterprise. 

His wishes were complied with in part. His own brigade was 
promptly sent to him, and one of the brigades of Loring's troops 
(upon the transfer of General Lee, General Loring had succeeded 
to the command of the troops west of Staunton) reached him 
early in December. Subsequently two more brigades, under 
General Loring himself, were added; but all these troops only 
increased the small force of three thousand State militia, which he 
had assembled in the district itself, to about eleven thousand men.* 
The greater part of General Loring's force did not arrive at Win- 
chester until Christmas, thus preventing any important move- 
ments during November and December. 

But meantime Jackson was not idle. He spent the time in 
organizing, drilling and equipping the militia and the scattered 
cavalry commands, which he consolidated into a regiment under 
Colonel Ashby; and in sending expeditions against the Chesa- 
peake and Ohio canal, by breaking which he annoyed the enemy 
and interrupted an important line of communication. f 

By the last week in December all the troops that the War De- 
Department thought it judicious to spare him had arrived, and 
though the season was far advanced, he determined at once to 
assume the offensive. The winter had so far been mild, the roads 
were in excellent condition, and though his force was not large 
enough for the recovery of West Virginia, important advantages 
seemed within reach. 

The forces and positions of the enemy opposed to Jackson at 
the beginning of 1862 were as follows: General Banks, com- 
manding the Fifth corps of McClellan's arm}-, with headquarters 
at Frederick, Maryland, had sixteen thousand effective menj; the 

*Dabney's Life of Jackson, page 2r>7. 

t Jackson was employed from December 10th to December '21st In an expedition against 
Dam No. 5 on the Potomac. Here Captain (now Governor) Hollldav, of the Thirty-third Vir- 
ginia, and Captain Robinson, of the Twenty-seventh Virginia, volunteered, with their com- 
panies, to go into tlie river ami cut away the cribs. This was done in the cold water under 
an annoying (Ire from the enemy on the Maryland bank. 

i General Banks says that he had seventeen thousand live hundred men in all. or "six- 
teen thousand effective men." See his I eslimony before the Committee on Conduct of the 
War, 1863, part II, page 41 1. 


greater part of whom were in winter quarters near that city, 
while the remainder guarded the Potomac from. Harper's Ferry 
to Williamsport. General Rosecrans, still holding command of 
the Department of West Virginia, had twenty-two thousand men 
scattered over that region,* but was concentrating them on the 
Baltimore and Ohio railroad. He says in his testimony (Report 
on Conduct of War, 1865, volume III): "On the 6th of Decem- 
ber, satisfied that the condition of the roads over the Allegha- 
nies into Western Virginia, as well as the scarcity of subsistence 
and horse-feed, would preclude any serious operations of the 
enemy against us, until the opening of the spring, I began quietly 
and secretly to assemble all the spare troops of the Department 
in the neighborhood of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, under 
cover of about five thousand men I had posted at Romney, with 
the design of obtaining General McClellan's permission to take 
nearly all these troops and suddenly seize, fortify and hold Win- 
chester, whereby I should at once more effectually cover the 
northeastern and central parts of Western Virginia, and at the 
same time threaten the left of the enemy's position at Manassas, 
compel him to lengthen his line of defence in front of the Army 
of the Potomac, and throw it further south." 

This plan of Rosecrans was anticipated and foiled by Jackson's 
movements. On the first of January, 1862, the latter left Win- 
chester at the head of between eight thousand and nine thousand 
men,f and moved towards Bath, in Morgan county. The fine 
weather of the preceding month changed on the very first night 
of the expedition, and a terrible storm of sleet and snow and 
cold set in, which for the next three weeks subjected the troops 
to the severest hardships, and finally forced their commander to 
suspend his forward movement. At first the troops marched 
cheerfully on in spite of cold and sleet. Bath was evacuated, but 
General Lander, who within a day or two had superseded Rose- 
crans, hurried reinforcements to Hancock, in time to prevent 
Jackson from crossing the Potomac. J Jackson, having made a 
demonstration against Hancock, done what damage was possible 
to the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and placed himself between 
Lander at Hancock and Kelly at Romney, moved toward the 
latter place as fast as the icy roads would permit. While Jack- 
son was on the road, a part of Kelly's force made a reconnois- 

* Rosecrans' testimony before Committee on Couduct of the War, 1863, part I, page 202. 

t On January 10th Jackson reported the entire force In his district to General .1. E. John- 
ston as tun thousand one hundred and eighteen i fantry and six hundred and fortv-tight 
cavalry. He had at that date twenty-four guns, having lost two at Hanging Rock, January 

t One of Banks' brigades was sent to aid Lander at Hancock. See Banks' testimony, above 


sance towards Winchester, and at Hanging Rock, twelve miles from 
Romney, surprised and defeated a force of Confederate militia 
of some seven hundred men, taking two guns. But alarmed 
at Jackson's movements, Kelly did not attempt to follow up the 
advantage, and hastily retired from Romney on January 10th. 
Jackson entered it on the 14th, and though the weather and roads 
grew worse, held to his intention of advancing further. He 
aimed at Cumberland. Preparations were at once begun for a 
movement on New Creek (now called Keyser), but when the 
orders to march were given, the murmuring and discontent 
among his troops, especially among those which had recently 
come under his command, reached such a pitch that he reluc- 
tantly abandoned the enterprise and determined to go into winter 
quarters. Leaving Loring and his troops at Romney, he re- 
turned with his own old brigade to Winchester, January 24th, 
and disposed his cavalry and militia commands so as to protect 
the whole border of the district. 

This expedition, though it had cleared his district of the foe 
and effectually broken up all plans of the enemy for a winter 
campaign against Winchester, was disappointing to Jackson, as 
well as to the public. Though believing that results had been 
obtained which outweighed all the suffering and loss, he was con- 
scious that the weather, and the lack of cordial support, had pre- 
vented the accomplishment of far more important ends. But 
this did not abate his self-reliance, nor diminish his clear-sight- 
edness. The discontent among his troops left at Romney re- 
sulted on the 31st of January in an order from the Secretary of 
War, sent without consultation, to withdraw Loring from that 
place. Jackson obeyed the order, and at once resigned, on the 
ground that such interference by the Department at Richmond, 
with the details of military affairs in the field, could only lead to 
disaster. After explanations, and upon the urgent request of 
Governor Letcher and General J. E. Johnston,* he withdrew the 
resignation. Subsequently, there was no desire on anybody's 
part to interfere with him. 

For the next month Jackson remained quietly at Winchester. 
General Loring and all his troops that were not Virginian were 
ordered elsewhere; and in order to induce re-enlistment, furloughs 
were freely granted. The Confederate force was in this way re- 
duced to about four or five thousand men, exclusive of militia. 

With the 1st of March opened the great campaign of 1862 in 
Virginia, in which Jackson was to bear so prominent a part. In 
other sections of the Confederacy fortune favored the Federal 

* See Johnston's Narrative, page *S; Uabney's Life, page 27 



cause, and the Union armies were on the full tide of success. On 
the 8th of February Roanoke Island fell, on the 16th Fort Don- 
elson, on the 26th Nashville, and on the 27th the evacuation of 
Columbus, Kentucky, was begun. 

These successes made the Federal Administration impatient 
to push forward operations in Virginia. At the urgent repre- 
sentation of General McClellan, President Lincoln had yielded 
his favorite plan of campaign — an advance against the Confede- 
rate lines at Manassas — and had reluctantly consented to the 
transfer of the Army of the Potomac to Fortress Monroe, and 
its advance thence on Richmond. Before he would allow Mc- 
Clellan, however, to begin the transfer, the Potomac river below 
Washington must be cleared of Confederate batteries, the Balti- 
more and Ohio railroad must be recovered and protected, and 
all the approaches to Washington must be made secure.* 

To fulfill a part of these conditions, Banks' and Lander's com- 
mands were ordered forward, and on February 24th General 
Banks occupied Harper's Ferry. Soon after, McClellan began 
the movements on his other wing, that were preparatory to an 
attack on the Confederate batteries along the lower Potomac. 
These indications of activity announced to General Johnston that 
the time had come for carrying out his plan, already determined 
upon, of retreating behind the Rappahannock. On the 7th of 
March Johnston began the withdrawal of his army, and by the 
nth all the infantry and artillery east of the Blue Ridge had 
reached the new position. 

Jackson meanwhile remained at Winchester, watching closely 
the advance of Banks, and doing what was possible to impede it. 
General Johnston thus describes the duty assigned to him: "Af- 
ter it had become evident that the Valley was to be invaded by 
an army too strong to be encountered by Jackson's division, that 
officer was instructed to endeavor to employ the invaders in the 
Valley, but without exposing himself to the danger of defeat, by 
keeping so near the enemy as to keep him from making any con- 
siderable detachment to reinforce McClellan, but not so near 
that he might be compelled to fight." f 

At this time Jackson s entire force did not amount to forty-six 
hundred men, exclusive of the remnants of the militia brigades, 
which were not employed any more in actual service. It con- 
sisted of the five regiments of his old brigade, now under Gar- 
nett, of three regiments and one battalion under Burks, and of 
two regiments under Fulkerson. He had also five batteries and 
Ashby's regiment of cavalry. General Banks had his own divi- 

* See McClellan'a report. t Johnston's Narrative, page 106. 



sion, under Williams, and Shields' (late Lander's)* division, now 
incorporated in his corps. Two brigades of Sedgwick's were 
also with himf when he crossed the Potomac, and the other sub- 
sequently joined him. On the 1st of April the strength of 
Banks' corps, embracing Shields', is given by General McClellan 
as twenty-three thousand three hundred and thirty-nine, including 
thirty-six hundred and fifty-two cavalry, and excluding twenty- 
one hundred railroad guards.^ Sedgwick's brigades continued 
with him in his advance on Winchester, and increased his force 
to over thirty thousand. § 

Jackson sent his stores, baggage and sick to the rear, but con- 
tinued to hold his position at Winchester to the last moment. 

Banks occupied Charlestown on 26th February, but only 
reached Stephenson's, four miles north of Winchester, on March 
7th. Here Jackson drew up his little force in line of battle to 
meet him, but the Federals withdrew without attacking. The 
activity of Ashby, and the boldness with which Jackson main- 
tained his position, impressed his adversary with greatly exag- 
gerated notions of his strength. Banks advanced in a cautious 
and war)- manner* refusing to attack, but pushing forward his left 
wing, so as to threaten Jackson's flank and rear. By the 1 ith 
of March this movement had gone so far that it was no longer 
safe for the Confederates to hold Winchester. Jackson remained 
under arms all day, hoping for an attack in front, but none was 
made, and late in the afternoon he ordered trains and troops into 
camp, near the south end of the town. By some mistake the 
trains went on six miles further and the troops had to follow. 
Jackson, not aware of this, called a council of his chief officers — 
the first and last time, it is believed, that he ever summoned a 
council of war — to meet after dark in Winchester, and proposed 
to them a night attack upon Banks. His proposition was not 
approved, and he learned then for the first time that the troops 
were already six miles from Winchester and ten from the enem\- 
The plan was now evidently impracticable, and he withdrew from 
the town, which was occupied by the Federals on the next day, 

•General Lander died at his camp at Pawpaw, March 2d, and (leneral Shields succeeded 
to his command. 

t.McClellan's report. 

'! McC'lellan's report. — Rebellion Uecord, companion volume I. pa<re Mil. 

{Meridian's morning report, March 2d, lsc.2, gives Hanks'strcngth as follows— olllcers and 
men '-present for duty ": 

Hanks' division ir>,: ; '- K 

Lander's (Shields') division 11, sew 

Sedgwick's division 1 1,217 

This no doubt, includes railroad guards and other detachments In the rear ; lull his movable 
column could hardly have been less than thirty thousand men— and was probably more— up 
to the 15th of March, wheu Sedgwick's division was ordered to the rear. 


March 12th. The Confederates continued to retreat slowly to 
Woodstock and Mount Jackson, forty miles in rear of Winches- 
ter, and Shields' division was thrown forward in pursuit to Stras- 
burg on the 17th. 

The retirement of Jackson, and the unopposed occupation of the 
lower Valley by Banks, relieved General McClellan of all fears in 
that direction, and induced him, in pursuance of President Lin- 
coln's requirement that Manassas Junction and the approaches 
to Washington from that direction be securely held, to send the 
following instructions to Banks on March 16th: 

"Sir — You will post your command in the vicinity of Manas- 
sas, entrench yourself strongly, and throw cavalry pickets out to 
the front. 

"Your first care will be the rebuilding of the railway from 
Washington to Manassas, and to Strasburg, in order to open 
your communications to the Valley of the Shenandoah. As 
soon as the Manassas Gap railway is in running order, entrench 
a brigade of infantry, say four regiments, with two batteries, at 
or near the point where the railway crosses the Shenandoah. 
Something like two regiments of cavalry should be left in that 
vicinity to occupy Winchester, and thoroughly scour the country 
south of the railway and up the Shenandoah Valley. 
Occupy by grand guards Warrenton Junction and Warrenton 
itself, and some more advanced point on the Orange and 

Alexandria railroad."* 

In compliance with these instructions, Shields' division was 
recalled from Strasburg, and Williams' division began its move- 
ment toward Manassas on the 20th of March. 

On the evening of the 21st Ashby reported that the enemy 
lhad evacuated Strasburg. Jackson, divining that this meant a 
withdrawal toward Washington, at once ordered pursuit with all 
his available force. The whole of his little army reached Stras- 
burg on the afternoon of the 22d — the greater part after a march 
of twenty-two miles. Meantime Ashby was following close be- 
hind the retreating enemy, and late in the afternoon of the 2 2d, 
as Jackson was entering Strasburg, Ashby was attacking the 
Federal pickets one mile south of Winchester. After the skir- 
mish, Ashby camped for the night at Kernstown, three miles 
south of Winchester. General Shields, who commanded the 
troops Ashby had attacked, and who was himself wounded in 
the skirmish, had displayed but a small part of his force, and this 

* McClellan's report. 


fact, combined with information gotten within the Federal lines, 
misled the Confederates. The last of Williams' division (Banks' 
old division) of Banks' corps had left on the morning of the 22d 
for Manassas, but Shields' division, of three brigades, still re- 
mained. The reports brought out led Ashby to believe that all 
but one brigade had gone, and that it expected to leave for 
Harper's Ferry the next day.* This information, transmitted to 
Jackson, caused the latter to push on with all haste the next 
morning. At daylight he sent three companies of infantry to 
reinforce Ashby and followed with his whole force. He reached 
Kernstown at 2 P M., after a march of fourteen miles. | 

General Shields had made his dispositions to meet attack, by 
advancing Kimball's brigade of four regiments and Daum's artil- 
lery to the vicinity of Kernstown. Sullivan's brigade of four 
regiments was posted in rear of Kimball, and Tyler's brigade of 
five regiments, with Broadhead's cavalry, was held in reserve. 
Ashby kept up an active skirmish with the advance of Shields' 
force during the forenoon. 

But though thus making ready, the Federal Generals did not 
expect an attack in earnest. Shields says he had the country in 
front and flank carefully reconnoitred during the forenoon of the 
23d of March, and the officer in charge reported "no indications 
of any hostile force except that of Ashby" Shields continues: 
"I communicated this information to Major-General Banks, who 
was then with me, and after consulting together, we both con- 
cluded that Jackson could not be tempted to hazard himself so- 
far away from his main support. Having both come to this con- 
clusion, General Banks took his departure for Washington, being 
already under orders to that effect. The officers of his staff, 
however, remained behind, intending to leave for Centreville in 
the afternoon. "J 

When Jackson reached Kernstown his troops were very weary. 
Three-fourths of them had marched thirty-six miles since the 
preceding morning. He therefore gave directions for bivouack- 
ing, and says in his report: "Though it was very desirable to 
prevent the enemy from leaving the Valley, yet I deemed it best 
not to attack until morning. But subsequently ascertaining that 
the Federals had a position from which our forces could be seen, 
I concluded that it would be dangerous to postpone the attack 
until the next day, as reinforcements might be brought up during 
the night." 

Jackson therefore led his men to the attack. His plan was to 

* Shields' report.— Rebellion Reeord, volume IV; Aslib.v's reports. 
•(■Jackson's report ; Confederate official reports. 
■! shields' report. 


gain the ridge upon which the Federal right flank rested, turn 
that flank, and get command of the road from Kernstown to 
Winchester in the enemy's rear. He gained the top of the ridge, 
but Shields was able to hold him in check until Tyler's brigade 
and other troops could be hurried to that flank, when Jackson in 
turn became the attacked party. For three hours of this Sun- 
day afternoon the sanguinary and stubborn contest continued. 
The left half of the Confederate line was perpendicular to the ridge; 
the right half, which was mainly composed of artillery, ran along 
the ridge to the rear, and was thus at right angles to the other 
part. The brunt of the Federal attack was borne by the centre, 
near the angle presented by that part of the line. Fulkerson's 
brigade, holding the extreme Confederate left, firmly maintained 
its position, but the centre was thinned and worn out by the per- 
sistent Federal attacks, until General Garnett, whose brigade was 
there, deeming it impossible to hold his position longer, ordered 
a retreat. This of course caused a retreat of the whole, which 
was effected with a loss of two disabled guns, and from two hun- 
dred to three hundred prisoners. 

Jackson's whole force at this time consisted of three thousand 
and eighty-seven infantry, of which two thousand seven hundred 
and forty -two were engaged in the battle of Kernstown; of 
twenty-seven guns, of which eighteen were engaged, and of two 
hundred and ninety cavalry General Shields states his force at 
seven thousand of all arms. The total Confederate loss was 
nearly seven hundred — the Federal is put by General Shields at 
less than six hundred.* 

Weary and dispirited was the little army which had marched 
fourteen miles in the morning to attack a force more than double 
its own, and which had for three hours wrestled for victory in so 
vigorous a fashion as to astonish and deceive the enemy. Baffled 
and overpowered, it slowly retraced its path for six miles more, 
and sank to rest. In the fence corners, under the trees, and 
around the wagons, the soldiers threw themselve down, many too 
tired to eat, and forgot in profound slumbers the toils, dangers 
and disappointments of the day. Jackson shared the open-air 
bivouac with his men, and found the rest that nature demanded 
on some fence rails in a corner of the road. Next morning he 
crossed to the south side of Cedar creek, and gradually retired 
before the advancing enemy once more to Mount Jackson. 

The bold attack of Jackson at Kernstown, though unsuccessful, 
led to many important results. Its first effect was the recall of 
the Federal troops then marching from the Valley towards Ma- 

* Jackson's and Shields' reports. 


nassas. _ General Shields says: "Though the battle had been 
won, still I could not have believed that Jackson would have 
hazarded a decisive engagement so far from the main body with- 
out expecting reinforcements; so to be prepared for such a con- 
tingency, I set to work during the night (after the battle) to bring 
together all the troops within my reach. I sent an express after 
Williams' division, requesting the rear brigade, about twenty 
miles distant, to march all night and join me in the morning. I 
sweptthe posts and routes in my rear of almost all their guards, 
hurrying them forward by forced marches to be with me by day- 
light. General Banks, hearing of our engagement on his 
way to Washington, halted at Harper's Ferry, and with remark- 
able prompitude and sagacity, ordered back Williams' whole 
division, so that my express found the rear brigade already en 
route to join us. The General himself returned forthwith, and 
after making me a hasty visit, assumed command of the forces in 
pursuit of the enemy This pursuit was kept up until 
they reached Woodstock." 

Thus the design of McClellan to post Banks' corps at Centre - 
ville (see letter of March 16th) became impracticable, and that 
body of over twenty thousand troops* was thought necessary to 
guard against the further movements of Jackson's three thou- 
sand and the imaginary reinforcements with which they supplied 
him. This battle, too, no doubt, decided the question of the de- 
tachment of Blenker s division of ten thousand men from Mc- 
Clellan, and its transfer to Fremont, recently placed in command 
jof the Mountain Department, which embraced West Virginia. 
While en route from Alexandria to join Fremont, Blenker's divi- 
sion was to report to Banks, and remain with him as long as he 
thought any attack from Jackson impending.* A few days later, 
the sensitiveness of the Federal Government to the danger of 
Washington, excited anew by Jackson's movements, led to the 
detachment of McDowell's corps. 

McClellan had left over seventy thousand menf for the defence 
of Washington and its approaches, and yet, after Kernstown, Presi- 
dent Lincoln felt so insecure that on April 3d he countermanded 
the order for the embarkation of McDowell's corps, and detained 
it to replace Banks in front of Washington, and so deprived Mc- 
Clellan of the finest body of troops in his army. • 

Thus Jackson's bold dash had effected the object of General 
Johnston in leaving him in the Valley, in a way far more thorough 
than either of them could have expected. 

The next month was to Jackson one of comparative inaction. 

* McCk'llitn's report. tMcCldlan's report. 


Having slowly retreated to the south bank of the Shenandoah 
near Mount Jackson, he spent the next few weeks in resting and 
recruiting his forces. The militia of the adjoining counties had 
already been called to the field, but this resource was superseded 
on the 1 6th of April by the conscription act. The time for re- 
organizing the regiments was near at hand. New officers were 
to be elected. The ranks were filling up under the impetus given 
to volunteering by the conscription bill. The weather during the 
first half of April was very raw and cold, and during the whole 
month was exceedingly rainy. All these causes rendered quiet 
very acceptable to the Confederates. 

Nor was the enemy in haste to disturb them. Banks was on 
April 4th placed in independent command of the Department of 
the Shenandoah, and McDowell of the country between the Blue 
Ridge and the Rappahannock, while Fremont was in command 
from the Alleghanies westward to the Ohio. These were all 
made independent of McClellan and of each other. General 
Banks followed Jackson but slowly. He reached Woodstock on 
April 1st, and having pushed back Ashby's cavalry to Edinburg, 
five miles beyond, he attempted no further serious advance until 
the 17th. He then moved forward in force, and Jackson retired 
to Harrisonburg, where he turned at right angles to the left, and 
crossing the main fork of the Shenandoah at Conrad's store, took 
up his position at the western base of the Blue Ridge mountains, 
in Swift Run gap. This camp the Confederates reached on the 
20th of April, and here they remained through ten days more of 
rain and mud. 

Meantime, the advance of McClellan up the Peninsula had be-' 
gun in earnest. General J. E. Johnston had transferred the mass 
of his army to the front of Richmond, and had taken command 
there in person. Ewell's division alone remained on the Rappa- 
hannock, to watch the enemy there, and to aid Jackson in case 
of need. This division was now near Gordonsville, and a good 
road from that point through Swift Run gap placed it within 
easy reach of Jackson. 

The latter, conscious of his inability with five or six thousand 
men (his force had nearly doubled since Kernstown by the re- 
turn of furloughed men and by new enlistments) to resist in the 
open country the advance of Banks, had availed himself of the 
nature of the country to take a position where he could be 
attacked only at great disadvantage, and yet might threaten the 
flank and rear of the advancing column, if it attempted to pass 
him. The main Shenandoah river covered his front — a stream 
not easily fordable at any time, and now swollen by the spring 
rains. The spurs of the mountains, as they run out towards 


this river afford almost impregnable positions for defence; his 
flank could only be turned by toilsome and exposed marches, 
while good roads led from his rear to General Ewell. Thus se- 
cure in his position, Jackson at the same time more effectually 
prevented the further advance of the Federal column than if he 
had remained in its front; for he held the bridge over the Shen- 
andoah, and was but a days march from Harrisonburg, and 
should Banks threaten to move forward towards Staunton, he 
was ready to hurl the Confederate forces against his enemy's 
flank and rear. General Banks at Harrisonburg was in the midst 
of a hostile country, and already one hundred miles from the 
Potomac at Harper's Ferry, with which a long line of wagon 
communication had to be maintained. To push on to Staunton, 
with Jackson on his flank and rear, was virtually to sacrifice his 
present line of communication, witK no practicable substitute in 
view; to attack the Confederates on the slopes of the mountains, 
with even a greatly superior force, was to risk defeat. 

On the 28th of April Jackson applied to General Lee, then 
acting as Commander-in-Chief under President Davis, for a re- 
inforcement of five thousand men, which addition to his force he 
deemed necessary to justify him in marching out and attacking 

Next day he was informed that no troops could be spared to 
him beyond the commands of Ewell and of Edward Johnson, the 
latter of whom was seven miles west of Staunton, at West View,, 
with a brigade. 

Jackson at once decided upon his plan of campaign,* and the 
very next day began to put it in execution. This campaign, so 
successful and brilliant in its results, and now so renowned, shows 
in its conception the strong points of Jackson's military genius — 
his clear, vigorous grasp of the situation — his decision, his energy, 
his grand audacity. It recalls the Italian campaign of 1796, 
when Napoleon astonished, baffled, defeated the armies of Beau- 
lieu, Wurmser and Alvinzy in succession. Jackson was now 
with about six thousand men at the base of the Blue Ridge, 
some thirty miles northeast of Staunton. Ewell with eight thou- 
sand men was in the vicinity of Stanardsville, twenty-five miles in 
his rear, and east of the mountains. Edward Johnson was seven 
miles west of Staunton, with thirty-five hundred men. Such the 
Confederate position. On the other hand, Banks, with the main 
body of his force, of about nineteen thousand men, occupied 
Harrisonburg, twelve or fifteen miles in Jackson's front. Schenck 
and Milroy, commanding Fremont's advance of six thousand 

* Jackson submitted Mirer plans of campaign, ami was diivrteil by ticiicnil Lee to use his 
discretion. — See General Leo's letter of May 1st to Jackson, Confederate archives. 


men, were in front of Edward Johnson, their pickets already east 
of the Shenandoah mountain and on the Harrisonburg and Warm 
Springs turnpike. Fremont was preparing to join them from 
the Baltimore and Ohio railroad with near ten thousand men, 
making the total of Fremont's movable column some fifteen 
thousand.* McDowell, with thirty thousand men, had drawn 
away from the upper Rappahannock, and was concentrating at 
Fredericksburg. This movement of McDowell had released 
Ewell, and left him free to aid Jackson, who, with a force of about 
sixteen thousand men (including Ewell' and Edward Johnson), 
had on his hands the thirty-four thousand under Banks and Fre- 
mont. The Warm Springs turnpike afforded Banks a ready 
mode of uniting with Milroy and Schenck, in which case Staun- 
ton would be an easy capture. Fremont was already preparing 
to move in that direction. Jackson determined to anticipate such 
a movement if possible, by uniting his own force to that of John- 
son, and falling upon Milroy while Ewell kept Banks in check. 
Then he would join Ewell, and with all his strength attack 

To accomplish this, Ewell was ordered to cross the mountain 
and occupy the position Jackson had held for ten days at Swift 
Run gap, thus keeping up the menace of Banks' flank. As 
Ewell approached, Jackson left camp on the 30th of April, and 
marched up the east bank of the Shenandoah to Port Republic. 
Xo participant in that march can ever forget the incessant rain, 
the fearful mud, the frequent quicksands, which made progress 
so slow and toilsome. More than two days were consumed in 
going fifteen miles. Meantime Ashby was demonstrating against 
the enemy, and keeping Jackson's line close to prevent informa- 
tion from getting through. At Port Republic the army turned 
short to the left, and leaving the Shenandoah Valley altogether, 
crossed Brown's gap in the Blue Ridge, and marched to Medium's 
River station on the Virginia Central railroad. Thence by road 
and rail it was rapidly moved to Staunton, and by the evening of 
May 5th it had all reached that point. The movement by this 
devious route mystified friends as well as foes. One day is given 
to rest, and on the next Jackson hurries forward, unites Johnson's 
troops with his own, drives in the Federal pickets and foraging 
parties, and camps twenty-five miles west of Staunton. On the 
morrow (May 8th) he pushes on to McDowell, seizes Sitlington's 
hill, which commands the town and the enemy's camp, and makes 
his dispositions to seize the road in rear of the enemy during the 
night. But Milroy and Schenck have united, and seeing their 

*Suc Fremont's report. 


position untenable, make a fierce attack in the afternoon to retake 
the hill or cover their retreat. For three or four hours a bloody 
struggle takes place on the brow of Sitlington's hill. The Fede- 
rals, though inflicting severe loss, are repulsed at every point, and 
at nightfall quietly withdraw.* They light their camp fires, and 
in the darkness evacuate the town. They retreat twenty-four 
miles to Franklin, in Pendleton county, where they meet Fre- 
mont advancing with the main body of his forces. Jackson fol- 
lows to this point; has found it impossible to attack the retreat- 
ing foe to advantage, and now deems it inadvisable to attempt 
anything further in this difficult country, with his nine thousand 
men against Fremont's fourteen thousand or fifteen thousand. 
Screening completely his movements from Fremont with cavalry, 
he turns back (May 13th), marches rapidly to within seventeen 
miles of Staunton, then turns towards Harrisonburg, and dis- 
patches General Ewell that he is on his way to attack Banks with 
their united forces. 

Meantime, important changes have taken place in the disposi- 
tion of the Federal troops in the Valley. McClellan is calling 
for more troops, and complaining that McDowell is withheld. 
The latter, having gathered Abercrombie's and other scattered 
commands from the country in front of Washington into a new 
division to replace one sent to McClellan, now lies at Fredericks- 
burg, impatient to take part in the movement on Richmond. 
Banks, hearing of Ewell's arrival in the Valley, fears an attack 
from him and Jackson combined, and retires from Harrisonburg 
to New Market. 

Jackson's inaction for some weeks, and now his movement to 
West Virginia, reassures the Federal Administration, and Shields, 
with more than half of Banks' force, is detached at New Market, 
and ordered to Fredericksburg to swell McDowell's corps to 
over forty thousand men.f Banks is left with only some seven 
thousand or eight thousand, and falls back to Strasburg, which 
he fortifies. £ He assumes a defensive attitude, to hold the lower 
Valley, and to cover the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. 

These movements of the enemy, which had taken place while 
Jackson was after Milroy, had nearly disarranged Jackson s plans. 
Upon the march of Shields towards Fredericksburg, the Con- 
federate authorities thought it time to recall Ewell to meet the 

*Sehenck's report.— Rebellion Record, volume V. He puts liis total loss :it two hundred 
and fifty-six. Jackson's loss was four hundred and sixty-one; see his report. 

t McDowell says his corps at this time "consisted of Hie divisions of McCull, King and 
Ord. . . . 1 here were ulioul thirty thousand men altogether. Then (General Shields 
came with about eleven thousand men, making my force about forty-one thousand men." 
lie had also one hundred pieces of artillery.— See McDowell's testimony before the Committee 
on Couduct of the War, part I, WW, pane 267. 

{Shields left New.Market May 12th. 


new danger thus threatened, and conditional orders reached 
Ewell while Jackson was yet short of Harrisonburg. After con- 
ference with Ewell (May 18th), Jackson took the responsibility 
of detaining him until the condition of affairs could be repre- 
sented to General Johnston, and meantime they united in a vigo- 
rous pursuit of Banks.* 

Ashby has followed close on Banks' heels, and now occupies 
his outposts with constant skirmishing, while he completely 
screens Jackson. The latter, having marched rapidly to New 
Market, as if about to follow the foe to Strasburg to attack him 
there, suddenly changes his route, crosses the Massanuttin moun- 
tain to Luray, where Ewell joins him, and pours down the nar- 
row Page Valley by forced marches towards Front Royal. This 
place is about one hundred and twenty miles (by Jackson's route) 
from Franklin, and the Confederates reached it on May 23d — ten 
days after leaving Franklin. Front Royal is held by about one 
thousand men under Colonel Kenly, of the First Maryland Fede- 
ral regiment, who has in charge the large stores there gathered, 
and the important railroad bridges on the Shenandoah. This 
force also covers the flank and rear of Banks' position at Stras- 
burg. Kenly is taken by surprise, makes what resistance he can, 
is forced across the bridges he vainly attempts to destroy, and 
flies towards Winchester. Jackson, too impatient to wait for his 
tired infantry, places himself at the head of a few companies of 
cavalry, and pushes after the foe. He overtakes, attacks and dis- 
perses Kenly's force, and in a few moments four-fifths of it are 
killed, wounded or prisoners. f Exhausted nature can do no 
more. Weary and footsore, the army lies down to rest. 

General Banks, amazed at this irruption by which his flank is 
turned and his communications threatened, begins next day a 
precipitate retreat from Strasburg to Winchester. Jackson antici- 
pates this, and presses on the next morning to Middletown — a 
village between Strasburg and Winchester — to find the road still 
filled with Federal trains and troops. Capturing or scattering 
these in every direction, he follows on after the main body, which 
has already passed him towards Winchester. He overhauls them 
in the afternoon, pushes Banks' rear guard before him all night, 
and having given but one hour to rest, at daylight on the 25th 
of May reaches Winchester, to find the Federal forces drawn up 

*Dabney'8 Life of Jackson, page 859. General Lee says, May Kith, to Jackson': "Whatever 
may be Banks' intention, it is very desirable to prevent him from going either to Fredericks- 
burg or the Peninsula. . A successful blow struck at him would delay, if it did uot pre- 
vent, his moving lo either place. . . . But you will not . . lose sight of the fact that it 
may become necessary for you to come to the support of General Johnston. 

t See Confederate official reports; also Camper & Kirkley's History of the First Maryland 
Regiment (Federal). 


across the approaches to the town from the south and southeast.* 
The main part of Banks' army occupies the ridge on which 
Kernstown had been fought, but at a point two miles further 
north, while another part holds the Front Royal road, on which 
Ewell with a part of his division is advancing. A vigorous 
attack is at once made by the Confederates, which for a short 
time is bravely resisted, but the Federal lines begin to yield, and 
seeing himself about to be overwhelmed, Banks retreats through 
Winchester. Jackson presses closely, and the Federals emerge 
from the town a mass of disordered fugitives, making their way 
with all speed towards the Potomac. The Confederate infantry 
follows for several miles, capturing a large number of prisoners, 
and had the cavalry been as efficient, but few of Banks' troops 
would have escaped.f Banks halts on the north side of the 
Potomac, and Jackson allows his exhausted men to rest at Win- 

Thorough and glorious was Jackson's victory. In forty-eight 
hours the enemy had been driven between fifty and sixty miles, 
from Front Royal and Strasburg to the Potomac, with the loss 
of nearly one-half of his strength. His army had crossed that 
river a disorganized mass. Hundreds of wagons had been aban- 
doned or burnt. Two pieces of artillery and an immense quan- 
tity of quartermaster, commissary, medical and ordnance stores 
had fallen into the hands of the victor. "Some twenty-three 
hundred prisoners" were taken to the rear when Jackson fell 
back, besides seven hundred and fifty wounded and sick paroled 
and left in the hospitals at Winchester and Strasburg, making a 
total of about three thousand and fifty. J 

A day is given, according to Jackson's custom, to religious 
services and thanksgiving, and another to rest, and on the third 
he is again moving towards Harper's Ferry, in order, by the most 
energetic diversion possible, to draw away troops from Rich- 
mond. How well he effected this, a glance at the Federal move- 
ments will show 

As above stated, the quiet that succeeded Kernstown, the 
advance of Banks far into the Valley and the movement of Jack- 
son to West Virginia, had calmed the apprehensions of the Fede- 
ral Administration for the time in regard to Washington, and the 
urgent requests of McClellan and McDowell, that the latter's 
corps should be sent forward from Fredericksburg towards Rich- 
mond, were listened to. Shields was detached from Banks and 
sent to McDowell, and on Ma)- 17th the latter was ordered to 

* See Banks' and other Federal reports.— Rebellion Record, volume V, page 52. 
t See JacksoQ's and Swell's reports. 
.' Jackson's report. 


prepare to move down the PVedericksburg railroad to unite with 
McClellan before Richmond. On Friday, May 23d, the very day 
of Jackson's attack at Front Royal, President Lincoln and Sec- 
retary Stanton went to Fredericksburg to confer with General 
McDowell, found that Shields had already reached that point, 
and determined, after consultation, that the advance should begin 
on the following Monday (May 26th).* McClellan was informed 
of the contemplated movement and instructed to assume com- 
mand of McDowell's corps when it joined him.t This fine 
body of troops moving from the north against the Confederate 
capital, would have seized all the roads entering the city from 
that direction, and would have increased McClellan's available 
force by from forty to fifty per cent. There was strong reason 
to except that this combined movement would effect the down- 
fall of Richmond. 

The Federal President returned to Washington on the night 
of the 23d to await the result. He there received the first news 
of Jackson's operations at Front Royal the preceding afternoon. 
The first dispatches indicated only an unimportant raid, and Mc- 
Dowell was directed by telegraph to leave his "least effective" 
brigade at Fredericksburg,j in addition to the forces agreed upon 
for the occupation of that town. Later, on the 24th, the news 
from Banks became more alarming, and General McDowell was 
dispatched that " General* Fremont had been ordered by tele- 
graph to move from Franklin on Harrisonburg to relieve General 
Banks and capture or destroy Jackson's and E well's forces. You 
are instructed, laying aside for the present the movement on 
Richmond, to put twenty thousand men in motion for the Shen- 
andoah, moving on the line or in advance of the line of the 
Manassas Gap railroad. Your object will be to capture the forces 
of Jackson and Ewell, either in co-operation with General Fre- 
mont, or in case want of supplies or of transportation interferes 
with his movement, it is believed that the force with which you 
move will be sufficient to accomplish the object alone." The 

following was sent to McClellan at 4 P M. on May 24th: "In 
consequence of General Banks' critical position, I have been com- 
pelled to suspend General McDowell's movements to join you. 
The enemy are making a desperate push on Harper's Ferry, and 
we are trying to throw Fremont's force and part of McDowell's 
in their rear." Signed, A. Lincoln. 

Next day the news from Banks seems to have greatly increased 
the excitement in Washington. The following telegrams were 
sent to General McClellan, May 25th, 1)}- President Lincoln: 

*Sec McDowell's testimony, before referred to. 
tSee Mcriellau'M report. 
1 See McDowell's testimony. 


"The enemy is moving north in sufficient force to drive Banks 
before him, in precisely what force we cannot tell. He is also 
threatening Leesburg, and Geary on the Manassas Gap railroad, 
from both north and south, in precisely what force we cannot 
tell. I think the movement is a general and concerted one, such 
as could not be if he was acting upon the purpose of a very des- 
perate defence of Richmond. I think the time is near when you 
must either attack Richmond or give up the job and come to the 
defence of Washington. Let me hear from you instantly." A 
later one reads: "Your dispatch received. Banks was at Stras- 
burg with about six thousand men— Shields having been taken 
from him to swell a column for McDowell to aid you at Rich- 
mond — and the rest of his force scattered at various places. On 
the 23d a Rebel force of seven to ten thousand men fell upon 
one regiment and two companies guarding the bridge at Front 
Royal, destroying it entirely, crossed the Shenandoah, and on the 
24th (yesterday) pushed to get north of Banks on the road to 
Winchester. Banks ran a race with them, beating them into 
Winchester yesterday evening. This morning a battle ensued 
between the two forces, in which Banks was beaten back into full 
retreat towards Martinsburg, and probably is broken up into a 
total rout. Geary, on the Manassas Gap railroad, just now re- 
ports that Jackson is now near Front Royal with ten thousand, 
following up and supporting, as I understand, the force now pur- 
suing Banks; also that another force of ten thousand is near Or- 
leans, following on in the same direction. Stripped bare as we 
are here, it will be all we can do to prevent them crossing the Poto- 
mac at Harper's Ferry or above. We have about twenty thousand 
men of McDowell's force moving back to the vicinity of Front 
Royal, and Fremont, who was at Franklin, is moving to Har- 
risonburg. Both of these movements are intended to get in the 
enemy's rear. One more of McDowell's brigades is ordered 
through here to Harper's Ferry The rest of his forces remain 
for the present at Fredericksburg. We are sending such regi- 
ments and dribs from here and Baltimore as we can spare "to 
Harper's Ferry, supplying their places in some sort by calling 
on the militia from the adjacent States. We also have eighteen 
cannon on the road to Harper's Ferry, of which arm there is not 
a single one yet at that point. This is now our situation. If 
McDowell's force was now beyond our reach, we should be- 
utterly helpless. Apprehensions of something like this, and no 
unwillingness to sustain you, has always been my reason for 
withholding McDowell's forces from you. Please understand 
this, and do the best you can with the forces you have."* 

* For foregoing dispatches see .McDowell's testimony and McCIellan's report. 


The exaggerations of this dispatch show the panic produced. 
Jackson had no troops at Orleans, or anywhere east of the Blue 
Ridge (except a little cavalry), and his entire force, which was all 
with him, was about sixteen thousand men.* 

This dispatch shows, however, that Jackson was for the time 
not only occupying all the troops in and around Washington, 
together with Fremont's forces, but was completely neutralizing 
the forty thousand under McDowell, and thus disconcerting 
McClellan's plans. 

But if the skill, celerity and daring of Jackson are illustrated 
in his movement against Banks, these qualities shine out far more 
brilliantly in his retreat from the Potomac and in his battles at 
Port Pvepublic. He moved to Harper's Ferry on the 28th of 
May, and spent the 29th in making demonstrations against the 
force that had been rapidly gathered there, but which was too 
strongly posted to be attacked in front. Time did not allow a 
crossing of the river and an investment of the place. The large 
bodies of troops which the Federal Administration was hastening 
from every direction to overwhelm him were already closing in. 
McDowell, with twenty thousand men, followed by another 
division of ten thousand more, was hurrying towards Front Royal 
and Strasburg, and Fremont, now awake to the fact that his enemy 
had pushed him back into the mountains, and then slipped away 
to destroy his colleague, was moving with his fourteen thousand 
or fifteen thousand men towards Strasburg. General Saxton had 
seven thousand Federal troopsf at Harper's Ferry, and Banks 
was taking breath with the remnant of his command (some seven 
thousand men by his return of May 31st) at Williamsport, Mary- 
land. Thus over fifty-five thousand men were gathering to crush 
Jackson, whose strength was now not over fifteen thousand. On 
the morning of May 30th he began his retreat, by ordering all 
his troops except Winder's brigade, Bradley Johnson's Maryland 
regiment and the cavalry, to fall back to Winchester. Nor was 
he an hour too soon, for before he reached that town McDowell's 
advance had poured over the Blue Ridge, driven out the small 
guard left at Front Royal and captured the village. 

The condition of affairs when Jackson reached Winchester on 
the evening of May 30th, was as follows: the Federals were in 
possession of Front Royal, which is but twelve miles from Stras- 
burg, while Winchester is eighteen. J Fremont was at Wardens- 
ville, distant twenty miles from Strasburg, and had telegraphed 
President Lincoln that he would enter the latter place by 5 P Ah 

* Dabney's Life, page 364. Major Duimey was at this time Chief-of-Staff to General Jack- 
■I Saxton's report.— Rebellion Record, volume V. 
% McDowell's testimony. 


on the next day.* The mass of Jackson's forces had marched 
twenty-five miles to reach Winchester, and his rear guard, under 
Winder (after skirmishing with the enemy at Harper's Ferry for 
part of the day) had camped at Halltown,f which is over forty 
miles distant from StraSburg-i 

The next day, Saturday, May 31st, witnessed a race for Stras- 
burg, which was in Jackson's direct line of retreat, but it was very 
different in character from the race of the preceding Saturday 
Orders were issued for everything in the Confederate camp to 
move early in the morning. The twenty-three hundred Federal 
prisoners were first sent forward, guarded by the Twenty-first 
Virginia regiment; next the long trains, including many captured 
wagons loaded with stores; then followed the whole of the army, 
except the rear guard under Winder. 

Jackson reached Strasburg on Saturday afternoon without mo- 
lestation and encamped, thus placing himself directly between 
the two armies that were hastening to attack him. Here he re- 
mained for twenty-four hours, holding 'his two opponents apart 
until Winder could close up, and the last of the long trains could 
be sent to the rear. Winder, with the Stonewall brigade, had 
marched thirty-five miles on Saturday, and by Sunday noon had 
rejoined the main body Meantime Shields and McDowell had 
been bewildered at Front Royal by the celerity of Jackson's 
movements, and had spent Saturday in moving out — first towards 
Winchester, and then on other roads, and finally in doing nothing.^ 
Fremont had stopped five miles short of Strasburg on Saturday 
night, and on Sunday was held in check§ by Ashby, supported 
by part of Ewell's division. On Sunday McDowell, despairing 
of "heading off" Jackson, sent his cavalry to unite with Fremont 
at Strasburg in pursuing the Confederates, and dispatched Shields' 
division up the Luray Valley,|| with the sanguine hope that the 
latter might, by moving on the longer and worse road, get in the 
rear of Jackson, who with a day's start was moving on the shorter 
and better! 

On Friday morning Jackson was in front of Harper's Ferry, 
fifty miles in advance of Strasburg; Fremont was at Moorcfield, 
thirty-eight miles from Strasburg, with his advance ten miles on 
the way to that place; Shields was not more than twenty miles 
from Strasburg (for his advance entered Front Royal, which is 
but twelve miles distant, before midday on Friday), while Mc- 
Dowell was following with another division within supporting 
distance. Yet by Sunday night Jackson had marched a distance 

* Fremont's report. t Jackson's and Winder's reports. 

t McDowell's testimony. § Fremont's report. 

I McDowell's testimony. 



of between fifty and sixty miles, though encumbered with pris- 
oners and captured stores, had reached Strasburg before either 
of his adversaries, and had passed safely between their armies, 
while he held Fremont at bay by a show of force, and blinded 
and bewildered McDowell by the rapidity of his movements. 

Then followed five days of masterly retreat. The failure of 
McDowell to attack him at Strasburg caused Jackson to suspect 
the movement of his forces up the Page or Luray Valley.* Mc- 
Dowell himself did not go beyond Front Royal, but sent Shields' 
division to follow Jackson. The road up the Page Valley runs 
along the east side of the main Shenandoah river, which was 
then impassable, except at the bridges. Of these there were but 
three in the whole length of the Page Valley — two opposite New 
Market, but a few miles apart, and a third at Conrad's store, op- 
posite Harrisonburg. Jackson promptly burned the first two, 
and thus left Shields with an impassable river between them, 
entirely unable to harass his flank or impede his march. Hav- 
ing thus disposed of one of the pursuing armies, he fell back 
before Fremont by moderate stages, entrusting the protection of 
the rear to the indefatigable Ashby. As Fremont approached 
Harrisonburg on the 6th of June, Jackson left it. Instead of 
taking the road via Conrad's store to Swift Run gap, as he had 
done when retreating before Banks in April, he now took the 
road to Port Republic, where the branches of the main Shenan- 
doah unite. He next sent a party to burn the bridge at Con- 
rad's store, which afforded the last chance of a union of his 
adversaries north of Port Republic. The bridge at the latter 
place, together with a ford on the South river — the smaller of 
the tributaries which there form the Shenandoah — gave him the 
means of crossing from one side to the other — of which by the 
destruction of the other bridges he had deprived his enemies. 

And now came the crowning act of his campaign. When his 
enemies were already closing in on his rear with overwhelming 
force, he had with wonderful celerity passed in safety between 
them. He had continued his retreat until they were now drawn 
one hundred miles from the Potomac. A large fraction of his 
pursuers had given up the chase, and were off his hands. Banks 
had only come as far as Winchester. Saxton from Harper's 
Ferry had only followed the rear guard under Winder for part of 
one day, and had then gone into camp, "exhausted," as he states. 
McDowell, with two divisions, had remained at Front Royal when 
Shields moved towards Luray — the latter officer undertaking 
with his one division to "clean out the Valley " Hence Jackson 

- Jackson's report. 


had now but Fremont's forces, about equal to his own in number, 
pressing on his rear, while Shields was making his toilsome way 
up the Page Valley, and was a day or two behind. 

By laying hold of the bridges he had placed an impassible 
barrier between his two pursuers, and now he occupied the point 
where their two routes converged. No further to the rear would 
the Shenandoah serve as a barrier to their junction, for south of 
Port Republic its head waters are easily fordable. Here, too, 
was Brown's gap near at hand, an easily defended pass in the 
Blue Ridge, and affording a good route out of the Valley in case 
of need. 

In this position Jackson determired to stand and fight his ad- 
versaries in detail. 

On Friday, June 6th, the foot-sore Confederates went into camp 
at different points along the five miles of road that intervened 
between Port Republic and Cross Keys, the latter a point half 
way between the former village and Harrisonburg. The skirmish 
on that day, in which Fremont's cavalry was severely punished, 
is memorable, because in it fell Turner Ashby — the generous, the 
chivalric, the high-souled knight, who, as commander of his 
horse, had so faithfully and gloriously contributed to Jackson's 
achievements. The next day was given to rest; and sorrow for 
the loss of Ashby replaced all other feelings for the time. But 
brief the time for sorrow War gives much space to the grand 
emotions that lead to heroic doing or heroic bearing, but is nig- 
gardly in its allowance to the softer feelings of sadness and grief. 
As Ashby is borne away to his burial, all thoughts turn once 
more to the impending strife. Fremont was advancing. He had 
been emboldened by the retreat of the Confederates, and failing 
to comprehend the object of Jackson's movements, pushed on to 
seize the prey, which he deemed now within his grasp. His troops 
were all up by Saturday night, and his dispositions were made 
for attack on Sunday morning, June 8th. 

But though Fremont was thus close at hand, while Shields, 
detained by bad roads, with his main body, was yet fifteen or 
twenty miles off, on the east side of the river, yet the opening of 
the battle on Sunday was made by a dash of Shields' cavalry 
under Colonel Carroll into Port Republic. They had been sent 
on, a dav's march in advance, and meeting but a small force of 
Confederate cavalry, had driven them pell-mell into Port Republic, 
dashed across South river after them, seized and for a few minutes 
held the bridge over the larger stream. Jackson had just passed 
through the village as they entered it. Riding rapidly to the 
nearest troops north of the bridge, he directed one of Poague's 
guns and one of Taliaferro's regiments (Thirty-seventh Virginia) 


on the bridge, quickly retook it, captured two cannon, and drove 

these adventurous horsemen back.* They retired two or three 

miles with their infantry supports, and as the bluffs on the west 

side of the river command the roads on the east side, a battery 

or two kept them inactive for the remainder of the day. 

It was at this time that Shields, from Luray, was dispatching 

Fremont as follows :f 

June 8th— 9^ A. M. 

I write by your scout. I think by this time there will be 
twelve pieces of artillery opposite Jackson's train at Port Republic, 
if he has taken that route. Some cavalry and artillery pushed 
on to Waynesboro' to burn the bridge. I hope to have two bri- 
gades at Port Republic to-day I follow myself with two other 
brigades from this place. If the enemy changes direction, you 
will please keep me advised. If he attempts to force a passage', 
as my force is not large there yet, I hope you will thunder down 
on his rear. Please send back information from time to time. 
I think Jackson is caught this time. 

Yours, sincerely, 

James Shields. 

Meanwhile, Fremont had marshaled his brigades and was 
pressing on in brilliant array to " thunder down " on his adver- 
sary's rear. To the gallant Ewell and his division had Jackson 
assigned the duty of meeting the foe. His other troops were 
in the rear, and nearer to Port Republic, to watch movements 
there, and to assist General Ewell if necessary. Ewell was drawn 
up on a wooded ridge near Cross Keys, with an open meadow 
and rivulet in front. On a parallel ridge beyond the rivulet Fre- 
mont took position. The Federal General first moved forward 
his left, composed of Blenker's Germans, to the attack. They 
were met by General Trimble, one of Ewell's brigadiers, with 
three regiments of his brigade. Trimble coolly withheld his fire 
until the Germans were close upon him. Then a few deadly 
volleys and the attack is broken, and the Federal left wing bloodily 
and decisively repulsed. J That sturdy old soldier General Trimble, 
having been reinforced, presses forward, dislodges the batteries 
in position in his front, and threatens the overthrow of Fremont's 
left wing. While this last is not accomplished, the handling 
Blenker has received is so rough as completely to paralyze the 
remainder of Fremont's operations. The attack on centre and 
right become little more than artillery combats, and by the mid- 

* See Jackson's, Winder's, Taliaferro's and Poague's reports, 
t Fremont's report. 
t Trimble's report. 


die of the afternoon Fremont withdraws his whole line.* Ewell's 
force was about six thousand, and his loss two hundred and eighty- 
seven.f Fremont's force twice as great, and his loss over six 
hundred and fifty. J 

About the time of Fremont's repulse, General Tyler, with one 
of Shields' infantry brigades, reached the position, near Lewiston, 
to which Colonel Carroll had retired in the morning; but so strong 
was the position held by the Confederate batteries on the west 
bank of the river, that Tyler felt it impossible to make any diver- 
sion in favor of Fremont, and with his force of three thousand 
men remained idle.§ 

Jackson, emboldened by the inactivity of Shields' advance, and 
the easy repulse of Fremont, conceived the audacious design of 
attacking his two opponents in succession the next day, with the 
hope of overwhelming them separately.|| For this purpose he 
directed that during the night a temporary bridge, composed 
simply of planks laid upon the running gear of wagons, should 
be constructed over the South river at Port Republic, and ordered 
Winder to move his brigade, at dawn, across both rivers and 
against Shields. Ewell was directed to leave Trimble's brigade 
and part of Patton's to hold Fremont in check, and to move at 
an early hour to Port Republic, to follow Winder. Taliaferro's 
brigade was left in charge of the batteries along the river, and to 
protect Trimble's retreat, if necessary. The force left in Fre- 
mont's front was directed to make all the show possible, and to 
delay the Federal advance to the extent of its power. The Con- 
federate commander proposed, in case of an easy victory over 
Shields in the morning, to return to the Harrisonburg side of the 
river and attack Fremont in the afternoon. In case, however, of 
delay, and a vigorous advance on Fremont's part, Trimble was to 
retire by the bridge into Port Republic and burn it, in order to 
prevent his antagonist from following. 

Jackson urged forward in person the construction of the foot 
bridge and the slow passage of his troops over the imperfect 
structure. When Winder's and Taylor's brigades had crossed, 
he would wait no longer, but moved forward towards the enemy; 
and when he found him ordered Winder to attack. The Federal 
General Tyler had posted his force strongly on a line perpen- 
dicular to the river— his left especially in a commanding position, 
and protected by dense woods. Winder attacked with vigor, but 
soon found the Federal position too strong to be carried by his 

♦ Fremont's report. t Ewell's report. 

t Fremont's report. 5 Tyler's report. 

II Dabney's Life. 


brigade of twelve hundred men. Taylor went to his assistance, 
but met with a stubborn resistance and varying success. Winder 
was forced back until other troops came up, and enabled him once 
more to go forward. Jackson, having failed in his first attack, 
and finding the resistance of Shields' force so much more stub- 
born than he had expected, with a quickness of decision worthy 
of Napoleon, gave up his audacious plan of recrossing the river 
and determined to concentrate his whole force against Shields. 
He therefore sent orders to Trimble and Taliaferro to leave Fre- 
mont's front, move over the bridge, burn it, and join the main 
body of the army as speedily as possible. This was done. Be- 
fore his rear guard had arrived, however, a renewed attack in 
overwhelming force on Tyler had carried his position, captured 
his battery, and compelled him to retreat in more or less dis- 
order. The pursuit continued for eight miles. Four hundred 
and fifty prisoners and six guns were captured, and two hundred 
and seventy-five wounded paroled in the hospitals near the field. 
The Federal loss by the official reports in the Adjutant-General's 
office was eight hundred and thirty The Medical and Surgical 
History of the War puts it at one thousand and two. Jackson's 
total loss was eight hundred and seventy-six.* 

Fremont had advanced cautiouslv against Trimble in the after- 
noon, and had followed, as the latter withdrew and burnt the 
bridge. By this last act Fremont was compelled to remain an 
inactive spectator of the defeat of Tyler. 

General Fremont thus describes the scene when he reached 
the river: "The battle which had taken place upon the further 
bank of the river was wholly at an end. A single brigade" (in 
fact two) "sent forward by General Shields had been simply cut 
to pieces. Colonel Carroll had failed to burn the 

bridge. Jackson, hastening across, had fallen upon the inferior 
force, and the result was before us. Of the bridge nothing re- 
mained but the charred and smoking timbers. Beyond, at the 
edge of the woods, a body of the enemy's troops was in position, 
and a baggage train was disappearing in a pass among the hills. 
Parties gathering the dead and wounded, together with a line of 
prisoners awaiting the movement of the Rebel force near by, was 
all in respect to troops of either side now to be seen." 

Thus the day ended with the complete defeat of the two bri- 
gades under Tyler. Gallant and determined had been their re- 
sistance, and Jackson s impetuosity had made his victory more 
difficult than it otherwise would have been. In sending in 
Winder's brigade before its supports arrived, he had hurled this 

* Sep imports of Jackson and his subordinates ; also of (/moral Tyler. Iit'lu-llion hVoord' 
TOlunn: V, pa^'i' 111). 


body of troops against more than twice their number. Taylor 
next attacked, but the repulse of Winder enabled the Federal 
commander to concentrate his forces against Taylor, and drive 
him from the battery he had taken. It was then that Jackson 
renewed the attack with the combined forces of three brigades, 
and speedily forced the enemy from the field. The Confederate 
trains had been moved in the course of the day across South 
river towards Brown's gap, and during the afternoon and night 
the Confederates returned from the battlefield and pursuit to 
camp at the foot of this mountain pass. It was midnight before 
some of them lay down in the rain to rest. 

This double victory ended the pursuit of Jackson. Fremont 
on the next morning began to retreat, and retired sixty miles to 
Strasburg. Shields, so soon as his broken brigades rejoined 
him, retreated to Front Royal, and was thence transferred to 

The battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic closed this cele- 
brated campaign. Just three months had passed since Jackson, 
with about forty-six hundred troops, badly armed and equipped, 
had fallen back from Winchester before the advance of Banks 
with over thirty thousand men. So feeble seemed his force, and 
so powerless for offence, that when it had been pushed forty miles 
to the rear, Banks began to send his force towards Manassas, to 
execute his part of "covering the Federal capital" in McClellan's 
great campaign. While a large part of the Federal troops is on 
the march out of the Valley, and their commander is himself en 
route from Winchester to Washington, Jackson, hastening from 
his resting place by a forced march, appears most unexpectedly 
at Kernstown, and hurls his little army with incredible force and 
fury against the part of Banks' army which is yet behind. He 
is mistaken as to the numbers of the enemy Three thousand 
men, worn by a forced march, are not able to defeat the seven 
thousand of Shields' After a fierce struggle, he suffers a severe 
repulse, but he makes such an impression as to cause the recall 
of a strong force from McClellan to protect Washington. The 
Federal Administration cannot believe that he has attacked Shields 
with a handful of men. 

Falling back before his pursuers, he leaves the main road at 
Harrisonburg, and crossing over to Swift Run gap he takes a 
position in which he cannot be readily attacked, and which yet 
enables him so to threaten the flank of his oponent, as to effect- 
ually check his further progress. Here he gains ten days' time 
for the reorganization of his regiments (the time of service of most 
of which expired in April), and here, too, the return of furloughed 
men and the accession of volunteers nearly doubled his numbers. 


Finding that no more troops could be obtained beside those 
of Ewell and Edward Johnson, he leaves the former to hold 
Banks in check, while he makes a rapid and circuitous march to 
General Edward Johnson s position, near Staunton. 

Uniting Johnson's force with his own, he appears suddenly in 
front of Milroy, at McDowell, only eight days after having left 
Swift Run gap. He has marched one hundred miles and crossed 
the Blue Ridge twice in this time, and now repulses Milroy and 
Schenck, and follows them up to Franklin. Then finding Fremont 
within supporting distance, he begins on May 13 to retrace his 
steps, marching through Harrisonburg, New Market, Luray — 
Ewell joining him on the road and swelling his force to sixteen 
thousand men — and on May 23 suddenly appears at Front Royal 
(distant, by his route, nearly one hundred and twenty miles from 
Franklin), and surprises and completely overwhelms the force 
Banks has stationed there. Next day he strikes with damaging 
effect at Banks' retreating column, between Strasburg and Win- 
chester, and follows him up all night. At dawn he attacks him on 
the heights of Winchester, forces him from his position and drives 
him in confusion and dismay to the Potomac, with the loss of 
immense stores and a large number of prisoners. Resting but 
two days, he marches to Harper's Ferry, threatens an invasion 
of Maryland and spreads such alarm as to paralyze the move- 
ments of McDowell's forty thousand men at Fredericksburg, and 
to cause the concentration of three-fourths of this force, together 
with Fremont's command, on his rear. The militia of the adjoin- 
ing States is called out; troops are hurried to Harper's Ferry in 
his front; more than fifty-five thousand troops are hastening under 
the most urgent telegrams to close in around him. Keeping up 
his demonstrations until the last moment — until, indeed, the head 
of McDowell's column was but twelve or fourteen miles from his 
line of retreat, at a point nearly fifty miles in his rear — he, by a 
forced march of a day and a half, traverses this distance of fifty 
miles and places himself at Strasburg. Here he keeps Fremont 
at bay until his long line of prisoners and captured stores has 
passed through in safety and his rear guard closed up. Then he 
falls back before Fremont, while, by burning successively the 
bridges over the main fork of the Shenandoah, he destroys all 
co-operation between his pursuers. Having retreated as far as 
necessary, he turns off from Harrisonburg to Port Republic, 
seizes the only bridge left south of Front Royal over the Shen- 
andoah, and takes a position which enables him to fight his 
adversaries in succession, while they cannot succor each other. 
Fremont first attacks and is severely repulsed, and next morning 
Jackson, withdrawing suddenly from his front and destroying the 


bridge to prevent his following, attacks the advance brigades of 
Shields and completely defeats them, driving them eight or ten 
miles from the battlefield. 

A week of rest, and Jackson, having disposed of his various ene- 
mies, and effected the permanent withdrawal of McDowell's corps 
from the forces opperating against Richmond, is again on the 
march, and while Banks, Fremont and McDowell are disposing 
their broken or baffled forces to cover Washington, is hastening 
to aid in the great series of battles which during the last days of 
June and the early ones of July resulted in the defeat of McClel- 
lan's army and the relief of the Confederate capital. 

I have thus tried to give you, fellow soldiers of the Army of 
Northern Vitginia, an outline of one of the most brilliant pages 
of our history. Time has not permitted me to dwell on the great 
deeds which crowded these few months, nor to characterize in 
fitting terms of panegyric the mighty actors in them. I have 
attempted nothing beyond a simple and carefully accurate state- 
ment of facts. This may help to clear away from one campaign 
the dust and mould which already gather over the memories of 
our great struggle. It may do more. It may, by touching the 
electric chord of association, transport us for the time into the 
presence of the majestic dead; and of the mighty drama, the 
acting of which was like another and a higher life, and the con- 
templation of which should tend to strengthen, elevate, ennoble. 
It is wise in our day — it is wise always — to recur to a time when 
patriotism was a passion; when devotion to great principles 
dwarfed all considerations other than those of truth and right; 
when duty was felt to be the sublimest word in our language ; 
when sacrifice outweighed selfishness; when "human virtue was 
equal to human calamity." Among the heroes of that time Jack- 
son holds a splendid place — an illustrious member of a worthy 
band — aye, a band than which no land in any age can point to a 

At the conclusion of the address, General J. A. Early made a 
few remarks warmly commending it and endorsing its historical 
value; and on his motion, the Association unanimously requested 
Colonel Allan to furnish a copy for publication. 

On motion of General B. T. Johnson, seconded by General W 
B. Taliaferro, and warmly endorsed by others, the Association 
unanimously requested Dr. J. William Jones to compile a vol- 
ume containing the addresses delivered at its organization and at 
its reunions, together with a roster of the Army of Northern 

On motion of Colonel C. S. Venable, seconded by General J. 


A. Early, the officers of last year were re-elected unanimously 
and by acclimation. 

The Treasurer's report showed that the Virginia Division had 
recently contributed to the relief of their comrades of the Lou- 
isiana Division, Army of Northern Virginia, who were suffering 
from the yellow fever scourge in New Orleans the sum of 


at the Saint Claire Hotel, which followed the public meeting, 
was one of the most elegant affairs of the kind ever gotten up. 
The room and the tables were beautifully decorated — the bill of 
fare, admirably served, embraced all of the substantiate and deli- 
cacies of the season, and formed a contrast to the "rations" we 
used to "draw" both amusing and refreshing to contemplate. 
General Lee presided with his accustomed dignity, ease and 
ready wit, and while all went " merry as a marriage bell " there 
was not a single case of intoxication and no disorder of any kind 
to mar the pleasure of the occasion. Indeed, these banquets 
have all been marked by sobriety and good order. 

In response to toasts, admirable speeches were made by Cap- 
tain E. A. Goggin, Judge William I. Clopton, Hon. A. M. Keiley, 
General Marcus J. Wright, Governor F. W M. Holliday, Private 
R. B. Berkley, Colonel James Lingan, Doctor Carrington, Colonel 
F R. Farrar, General Fitzhugh Lee, Rev. H. Melville Jackson, 
Major R. W Hunter and General J. A. Early. 

We regret that we are not able to publish many of the speeches 
made at these annual banquets, for they are well worthy of pres- 
ervation; but our readers will thank us for giving Mr. Keiley's 
masterly sketch of the Model Infantryman. 


After a facetious hit at the cavalry, and bringing down the 
house by saying that he had never been able to determine exactly 
which was the more pleasant duty, to charge the artillery of the 
enemy, or stipport your own, and that he had rather support a 
wife and twelve children than to do either, Mr. Keiley said: 

But I do not propose to make response to this sentiment by 
any attempt to contrast the achievements of this branch of the 
Army of Northern Virginia with those of the cavalry or artillery. 
That immortal army won fame enough for all. Let me rather 
acknowledge the compliment by drawing a picture — most inade- 
quate as it must be — of a great comrade, who, whatever may 


have been the arm in which he was trained, won the laurels, for- 
ever unfading, by which his name will be handed down the ages, 
in a career which entitles me to claim him as the Model Infantry- 
man of the Confederacy 

It was on the morning of Friday, May 1st, 1863, that I saw 
him last in life: a rugged face, stained and seamed like some 
buried bronze, marked by the corroding sweep of centuries — a 
face with none of the advertisements of genius about it, as though 
nature had scorned to mar its crag-like grandeur with one facti- 
tious grace— a gnarled face, rough as mountain oaks must look 
to puling willows — silent, as the pulsing sea is silent, not with 
the rest of feebleness, but with the God-like balance of powers, 
infinite and resistless — thoughtful, with that concentrated thought 
in whose consuming heat things vain and frivolous shrivel and 
evaporate like autumn leaves in forest fires — ambitious, with an 
ambition passing vulgar thirsts, as pride passes vanity; as love, 
friendliness; an ambition which even some friends have denied 
him, because it was a sort for which the measure and standard 
were to them all unknown — brave, with that superb courage 
which dares without knowing that it dares — wise, with a wisdom 
that defied surprise, and never encountered the unexpected — fer- 
tile, inventive, exhaustless; of resource prodigious, and patient 
endurance more prodigious — of such faculty and such achieve- 
ment that in a public life scantily reaching two and twenty 
months in all, the dull earth was bursting with his fame, borne 
by the winds, the ships of the air, which no blockade could 

A shadow darkened his grave face that bright May morn — not 
of doubt or disappointment, for by some strange power of soul 
he laid upon heaven in absolute content all the issues of his life. 
Perchance it was the shade of the wing of the death angel be- 
tween him and the sun — that sun before whose second return he 
was to be smitten; smitten to .the death by those who would 
have rather thrust their hands, like Cains Mucins, into fiercest 
flames than willingly have wounded a button on his faded coat. 

It was our immortal infantryman — who emulated with his foot 
soldiers the swift surprises of the trooper; who deployed artillery 
like skirmishers. 

When next I saw him, not many days thereafter, our hero 
lay in yonder capitol, cold; coffined and dead. About his bier 
bronzed and maimed men, who had faced a hundred deaths with- 
out a quickening pulse, stood weeping — weeping with passionate 
tempest of grief, as women weep over their first born, when the 
sweet eves, brighter to them than evening stars, are glazing, and 
the loved prattle to which the songs of the Seraphs were in their 
ears discord, is only a faint, fading, far-off echo. 


He had passed over the river. He had met "the last enemy."" 
He was dead! 

'•Dead, with his harness on him, 
Rigid and cold and white ; 
Marking the place of the vanguard 
Still in the ancient fight. 

"Dead, but the end was fitting, 
First in the ranks he led " — 

Ah, what sad prophecy in the lines which follow, as we re- 
member how our fortunes waned after Chancellorsville ! — 

"Dead, but the end was fitting, 
First in the ranks he led, 
And he marked the height of his nation's gain, 
As he lay in his harness — dead ! " 


The Hall of the House of Delegates was packed to its utmost 
capacity on Wednesday evening, October the 29th, 1879, as com- 
rades gathered to rekindle the "camp fires of the boys in gray " 

In the absence of both the President and the Vice-Presidents, 
General Early presided. 

Rev. Dr. McKim, of New York (formerly of the staff of Gen- 
eral George H. Steuart), led in a most appropriate prayer. 

General Early presented a feeling and appropriate tribute to 
the memory of General John B. Hood, which was unanimously 
adopted, and ordered to be spread on the record. 

General Fitz. Lee was then introduced, and was greeted with 
loud applause, frequently repeated, as he delivered the following 
address : 


Mr. President, Comrades, and Ladies and Gentlemen — The 
musical echoes of the horn of the Alpine Chief, winding from 
highest mountain top to lowermost valley, were as sacred in the 
ears of his followers as the mystic fire which burned in the tem- 
ple of the Virgins of Vesta, and its blast drew every man from 
his wife, his sweetheart and his fireside. So an invitation to 
speak to this Association of the historic Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia, should sound upon the ear of the Confederate soldier as a 
mandate from a band of brothers, chained to him by the loving 
links of a mighty past, and whose future is indissolubly wrapped 
up with his in one common destiny — for all time, for sunshine 
and for storms; irresistibly drawing him from all other obliga- 
tions, it brings him, however unworthy, before you to-night, to 
discharge the duty assigned him by your partiality. 

At your bidding, fellow soldiers, I strike the strings of the 
harp of Auld Lang Syne, whose notes now are chords of peace, 
while picturing, with poor brush, the camp fires of war. The 
ruddy glow will light up familiar scenes to you, because once 
again in imagination you will see the fiery hoof of battle plunged 
into the red earth of Virginia's soil. I approach it, as was said 
by the sage of Monticello, in his famous inaugural, "with those 
anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the 


charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire, and I 
humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking." 

Soldiers, your Committee requested that I should present to 
your consideration a field of conflict which brings before the 
military student as high a type of an offensive battle as ever 
adorned the pages of history. The military wisdom of those 
directing the tactical and strategical manoeuvres upon the Con- 
federate side, was equaled only by the valor of the troops 
entrusted with the execution. Aye, the heart of the Southron 
of to-day will beat with lofty pride, his cheek will mantle with 
crimson consciousness, and the eyes of his children's children, 
yet unborn, will flash with inherited fire, as is seen the splendid 
laurel wreath which fame hangs upon the Confederate colors, 
fluttering so victoriously to the breeze in those early days of 
May, 1863, when the "stem of the willow shoots out a green 
feather, and buttercups burn in the grass." 

For giants were wrestling there, for victory upon the gory 
ground of Chancellorsville. To understand clearly the combi- 
nation which resulted in this success to the Confederate arms, go 
over with me, as briefly as possible, the immediate preceding 

When the sun of September 17th, 1862, with the mellow splen- 
dor of autumn, had gone down beneath the horizon, thirty-five 
thousand Southern soldiers, living and dead, slept upon the field 
of Sharpsburg — some waiting for to-morrow's conflict, others 
resting where they wearied, and lying where they fell. They 
had successfully withstood the assaults of the Federal army, num- 
bering in action, according to McClellan's report, eigthy-seven 
thousand one hundred and sixty-four. On the 19th the Army 
of Northern Virginia recrossed the Potomac, and for weeks its 
encampments whitened the charming region of the lower Valley. 
Nineteen days after the battle, Mr. Lincoln, President of the 
United States, ordered McClellan to cross the Potomac and give 
battle to the enemy or drive them south. On the 10th October, 
four days after the date of that order, the dashing commander 
of the Confederate horse, J. E. B. Stuart, led his cavalry back 
ifito Maryland, and riding around both flanks and rear, made a 
complete circuit of McClellan's army — possibly to inquire why 
Lincoln's orders were not obeyed. 

McClellan reported^Stuart's march. Halleck, then Commander- 
in-Chief at Washington, replies to him: "The President has read 
your telegram, and directs me to suggest that if the enemy had 
more occupation south of the river, his cavalry would not be 
likely to make raids north of it." On the 25th October, McClel- 
lan telegraphs that his " horses are broken down from fatigue and 


want of flesh." Lincoln rejoins: "Will you pardon me for ask- 
ing what the horses of your army have done since the battle of 
Antietam that fatigues anything? Stuart's cavalry outmarched 
ours, having certainly done more marked service in the Peninsula 
and everywhere since." On the 3d of November, twenty days 
after he had been ordered, McClellan finished crossing his army 
over the Potomac — not in General Lee's front, but in Loudoun 
county — carefully interposing the burly Blue Ridge between it 
and the Army of Northern Virginia, and securely holding the 
passes. Leaving Jackson in the lower Valley, General Lee 
quietly moved Longstreet and the cavalry up the Valley, and 
crossing them at passes south of those held by McClellan, moved 
into Culpeper county, so that when the Federal commander 
reached Fauquier county the Rappahannock rolled once more 
peacefully between them. On the 7th of November, McClellan 
telegraphs : " I am now concentrating my troops in the direction 
of Warrenton." An order prepared two days before relieved 
him from the command of his army. The storm of official dis- 
pleasure which had been growing deeper and blacker, had burst 
at last above the head of the young Napoleon, and the fury of 
the gale was destined to sweep him, who was once the idol of 
the army and the people, from further participation in the strug- 
gle. To-day the tempest tossed winds are quiet beneath the rays 
of the sun of peace, and as its Governor, McClellan's command 
is the State of New Jersey. Burnside was his successor. He 
decided to make a rapid march of his whole force upon Frede- 
ricksburg, making that the base of his operations, with Richmond 
as the objective point. On the 17th of November his advance, 
Sumner's column, thirty-three thousand strong, arrived in front 
of Fredericksburg. Had his pontoons arrived, Burnside says, 
"Sumner would have crossed at once over a bridge in front of a 
city filled with families of Rebel officers and sympathizers of the 
Rebel cause, and garrisoned by a small squadron of cavalry and 
a battery of artillery." 

On the 15th General Lee learned that transports and gunboats 
had arrived at Acquia creek. On the 1 8th Stuart, forcing his 
way across the Rappahannock at the Fauquier While Sulphur 
Springs, in the face of cavalry and artillery, made a rcconnois- 
sance as far as Warrenton, reaching there just after the rear of 
the Federal column had left. His report satisfied General Lee 
that the whole Federal army had gone to Fredericksburg. He 
had previously been informed as to Sumner's march. Mc Laws' 
and Ransom's divisions, accompanied by Lane's battery of artil- 
lery and W H. F Lee's brigade of cavalry, were at once put in 
motion for that place, and the whole of Longstreet's corps fol- 


lowed on the 19th. On the 21st Sumner summoned the town 
to surrender under a threat of cannonading it the next day. To 
this General Lee replied that the " Confederate forces would not 
use the place for military purposes, but its occupation by the 
enemy would be resisted," and directions were given for the re- 
moval of the women and children as rapidly as possible. The 
threatened bombardment did not take place; but in view of the 
imminence of a collision between the two armies, the inhabitants 
were advised to leave the city, and almost the entire population, 
without a murmur, abandoned their houses. "History presents 
no instance of a people exhibiting a purer and more unselfish 
patriotism, or a higher spirit of fortitude and courage, than was 
evinced by the citizens of Fredericksburg. They cheerfully in- 
curred great hardships and privations, and surrendered their 
homes and property to destruction rather than yield them into 
the hands of the enemy of their country." 

While the poisoned cup was not passed around as at Capua 
before its inhabitants surrendered to Fulvius, they pledged their 
fortunes, their families and their household goods to the cause 
with the faith which characterized the Romans when they put 
up for sale the ground occupied by Hannibal's camps during his 
siege of the city, and it was bought at a price not at all below its 
value. The law passed at the instance of the Tribune Oppius 
forbade, in the dark days of Rome, any woman from wearing a 
gay colored dress, and that none should approach nearer than a 
mile of any city or town in a car drawn by horses, because the 
public need was so urgent that private expenses must be restrained 
by law so as to give more for defence. The women of Frede- 
ricksburg, equally as patriotic, obeyed "without a murmur," and 
bore their proportion of the burdens of the hour, for the con- 
firmation of which they have the recorded words of Robert E. 
Lee. On the 22d of November, one day after the demand for 
the surrender of Fredericksburg, Stonewall Jackson began his 
march from Winchester, and in eight days transferred his corps, 
with an interval of two days' rest, to the vicinity of Fredericks- 
burg (Dabney, page 594). 

The first of December found the Confederate army united. It 
was Burnside's intention to cross the Rappahannock at once upon 
the arrival of his army, but the delay in receiving his pontoons 
prevented the movement — they did not reach him until the 22d 
or 23d of November. Could he have done so, Longstreet's corps 
only would have been in his front, as Jackson did not arrive 
until the 30th. It is certain, however, he would have encountered 
the united Confederate army somewhere, for General Lee was 
the commander of its detached parts. While the two armies are 


putting on the war paint, go with me to the spot where once 
stood the Philips house. This elevated site was on the second 
and highest elevation from the river on the Stafford side, and 
was selected by Burnside for his headquarters during the battle 
of Fredericksburg. A magnificient view of all the surrounding 
country might here be seen through the field-glasses of the Federal 

Decending the hill from the Philips' house en route to the 
river we reach the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac rail* 
road, which, crossing the river by bridge, first curves westward 
before taking its northeasterly course to Acquia creek; then we 
come to a bottom through which flows a small stream; then we 
ascend the elevated table-land comprising the Lacy farm, and cross- 
ing it reach the Lacy house, Sumner's headquarters, and which is 
directly opposite Fredericksburg and on the hill above the river. 
The Rappahannock, drawing its source from the Blue Ridge 
mountains, drains the counties of Fauquier, Rappahannock and 
Culpeper, while the Rapidan, its twin sister, flowing through 
Madison, Greene and Orange, unites with it some twelve miles 
above Fredericksburg. From that point the river tranquilly 
meanders through a beautiful country until, passing between 
the counties of Lancaster and Middlesex, it is lost in the waters 
of the Chesapeake bay. It is navigable for steamboats and 
small sailing vessels ninety-two miles from its mouth to Frede- 
ricksburg, the head of navigation. 

There are two fords between the city and the junction of the 
Rapidan. Three miles above by the Spotsylvania side, or six by 
the Stafford side, is Banks' ford, and above that is the United 
States, or Mine, or Bark Mill ford. On the Rappahannock, above 
the union of the two streams, comes first Richards' ford, then 
Kelly's, which is some thirty miles from a point in Stafford op- 
posite Fredericksburg. This well-known ford unites Morrisville 
and adjacent country in Fauquier to Culpeper On the Rapidan 
above the junction, we have first Ely's ford, then the Germanna, 
then Mitchell's, Morton s, Raccoon, Summcrvillc, Rapidan station 
or railroad bridge, where the Midland road crosses the Rapidan; 
all of which put the people of Culpeper and Orange in commu- 
nication with each other. Above Fredericksburg the hills close 
in abruptly on the river, and continue more or less so all along 
the left or Stafford bank. On the right bank, beginning at Tay- 
lor's, above Fredericksburg, the hills, at first curving off from the 
river «radually, return in that direction, until, at the distance of 
some four and a half miles from Fredericksburg, they gently 
decline into a series of soft waves of land, which terminate at the 
valley of Massaponnax. The rim of highland thus described, 


which begins at Taylor's and ends near Hamilton s crossing, is 
the shape of a half of a vast ellipse. 

At a point opposite to tfhe town it detaches from its front, as it 
were, an elevated plain. On the edge of this plain, nearest to 
Fredericksburg, is the famous Marye house and hill, and at its 
base runs the stone wall, apparently built to hold the parapet of 
made earth and prevent its being washed away. The convex 
side of this encircling rim of highland and the river inclose the 
plains of Fredericksburg — an extensive piece of table-land two 
and one-half miles across its greatest diameter. Hazel run, 
breaking between Marye's hill and Lee's hill (the latter so called 
because occupied by General Lee during the battle of Frede- 
ricksburg as headquarters), crosses the plains in its northerly 
course to the river. The Narrow Gauge railroad to Orange 
Courthouse and the Telegraph road to Spotsylvania Courthouse, 
twelve miles away to the south, take advantage of this opening 
to get through the hills. Lower down, Deep run crosses the 
flats at its widest part, having drawn its source from the high- 
lands ; and still lower, beyond Hamilton's, flows into the river a 
bolder stream than the other two, called the Massaponnax. On 
the eastern or lower side of the town bebouches the River or 
Port Royal road, running parallel to the river. This road runs 
between earthen banks some three feet high, on which had been 
planted hedge rows of trees, principally cedar, whose roots held 
the ground firmly, making a low double rank of natural fortifi- 
cations, some four and a half miles long, and affording an excel- 
lent place to align troops. 

The railroad from Fredericksburg to Richmond, sixty-one 
miles distant, crosses this plain transversely, running easterly 
until it reaches the hills at Hamilton's, around whose base it 
curves upon its southerly course. From the side of the town 
next to Marye's hill proceeds the Old turnpike and the Plank 
road. At the limits of the town they are merged into one, which 
crosses Marye's hill some fifty yards north of the house, runs 
south to Salem church, six miles, where they separate — the Old 
turnpike being the right hand or more northern road. At Chan- 
cellorsville, twelve miles from Fredericksburg, they unite and 
continue the same road until Wilderness church is reached be- 
yond, when they again separate, the Plank road running as before 
to the south. The Wilderness tavern is some miles further on 
towards Orange Courthouse on the Old turnpike, and some 
miles further on this'road is crossed by Wilderness run, and here 
comes in the road from Germanna ford, on the Rapidan. The 
direct road from Kelly's ford on the Rappahannock to Chan- 
cellorsville crosses the Rapidan at Ely's ford. 


By keeping this imperfect topographical description in view, 
it will facilitate a better understanding of the strategical and 
tactical operations of the opposing armies; for participation in 
battles, unless as a commander of rank, will give but little know- 
ledge of localities, such knowledge being in inverse ratio to the 
closenes of your discharge of military duties. 

Before dawn on the nth of December the Confederate signal 
gun announced that Burnside's army was in motion. Two days 
and two nights were consumed in getting the Federal soldiers 
over a river three hundred yards wide, spanned by four pontoon 
bridges, the laying down of which was resisted by the Thirteenth, 
Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Twenty-first Mississippi regiments, 
comprising Barksdale's splendid brigade of McLaws' division, 
and the Third Georgia and Eighth Florida of R. H. Anderson's 
division. With these six small regiments, Barksdale held the 
Federal army at the river bank for sixteen hours, giving the Con- 
federate commander ample time to prepare for battle (Longstreet's 

The Federal army was divided into three grand divisions, the 
right under Sumner, the centre under Hooker, the left under 
Franklin. Sixty thousand troops and one hundred and sixteen 
cannon were under Franklin, opposing our right near Hamilton's 
crossing; he having Burns' division from the Ninth corps, of 
Sumner's command, and two divisions of Stoneman's corps, of 
Hooker's. Sumner had about twenty-seven thousand of his own 
and about twenty-six thousand of Hooker's troops, with one 
hundred and four cannon (Hunt's report), attacking our right at 
Marye's hill — making a grand total that Burnside had of one 
hundred and thirteen thousand (his report); he had also one 
hundred and fifty-seven heavy guns in reserve. Burnside lost in 
killed, wounded and missing twelve thousand three hundred and 
fifty-three (his report), and failing to dislodge the Confederate 
army, recrossed the river. The Army of Northern Virginia was 
divided into two corps, under Longstreet and Jackson. The 
official returns on the 10th of December, 1862, one day before 
Burnside's advance, showed present for duty seventy-eight thou- 
sand two hundred and twenty-eight (Walter Taylor's Four Years 
with Lee). Jackson's corps lost in killed, wounded and missing 
three thousand four hundred and fifteen (his report). Long- 
street's loss was one thousand eight hundred and ninty-four (his 
report) — making a total of five thousand three hundred and nine. 

The battle of Fredericksburg was a grand sight as Lee wit- 
nessed it from the centre of his lines on that memorable 13th of 
December, and Burnside through his field-glasses, from a more 
secure position two miles in rear of the battlefield, at the Philips' 


house, with the river flowing between himself and his troops. 
As the fog lifted, it was like some grand drama disclosed by the 
curtain rolling up. The plain of Fredericksburg resembled the 
"field of the cloth of gold," where — 

"The gilded parapets were crowned with faces. 
And the great tower filled with eyes up to the summit, 
To rain influence and to judge the prize." 

The roar of three hundred cannon (the Federals alone had three 
hundred and seventy-five in their army) formed the orchestra, 
the city of Fredericksburg their audience. 

" Hark ! as those smouldering piles with thunder fall, 
A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call. 
Earth shook, red meteors flashed along the sky, 
And conscious nature shuddered at the cry." 

As I stood at one time during the day on Hood's lines and 
saw this gorgeous military pageant beneath me — over one hun- 
dred thousand men in line of battle, a line of blue with bristling 
bayonets, both of whose flanks were visible — it was the grandest 
sight my eyes ever rested upon; and in history I cannot recall 
its parallel. The Federal plan of battle was defective, so far as 
trying to force General Lee's left, for that was impregnable. 
Were it possible to have carried Marye's hill, no Federal force 
could have lived there, for a concentrated converging fire from 
the heights in rear which commanded it, and of which Marye's 
was simply an outpost, would have swept them from its face. 
Holding fast with a small force in Fredericksburg, protected by 
reserve artillery in Stafford, and reinforcing Franklin with the 
bulk of Sumner, and Hooker swinging around by his left, to 
have threatened the Confederate line of communication, would 
have drawn General Lee away from Marye's and forced a battle 
on more equal terms as to position. 

The popular notion that General Jacksoh wanted to move 
down on the Federals after their repulse and drive them into the 
Rappahannock, is disposed of by his own report, in which he 
says: "The enemy making no forward movement, I determined, 
if prudent, to do so myself; but the first gun had hardly moved 
from the wood a hundred yards when the enemy's artillery re- 
opened, and so completely swept our front as to satisfy me that 
the projected movement should be abandoned." With the Fede- 
ral defeat all was quiet along the Rappahannock, both armies 
"seeking the seclusion that a cabin grants" in winter quarters. 
Two more attempts were made to cross the army over the river 
by General Burnside, one at a point opposite Seddon's house, 


some six or seven miles below Fredericksburg, which President 
Lincoln stopped, because, as he said, no prominent officer in the 
command had any faith in it; and later a second attempt was 
made to cross above Falmouth. This movement was intended 
to flank Marye's hill by reaching the Plank road towards Salem 
church and beyond it. A glance at the topography of the 
country and the position of the Confederate army will show that 
such strategy possessed none of the elements of success. On 
the 25th of January, an order from the War Department relieved 
Generals Burnside, Sumner and Franklin, his right and left 
grand division commanders, from duty, and placed Major-General 
Hooker in command of the army They were removed, the 
order states, at their own request; but Burnside (Report of Com- 
mittee on Conduct of War, page 721) says the order did not ex- 
press the facts in the case as far as he was concerned. The day 
after Hooker was placed in command, he read the following 
letter from Mr. Lincoln : 

Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C, January 26, 1S63. 
Major-General Hooker : 

General — I have placed you at the head of the army of 
the Potomac. Of course I have done this upon what appears to 
me to be sufficient reasons. And yet I think it best for you to 
know that there are some things in regard to which I am not 
quite satisfied with you. I believe you to be a brave and skillful 
soldier, which, of course, I like. I also believe you do not mix 
politics with your profession, in which you are right. You have 
confidence in yourself, which is a valuable if not an indispensable 
quality. You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, 
does good rather than harm. But I think that during General 
Burnside's command of the army you have taken counsel of your 
ambition and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you 
did a great wrong both to the country and to a most meritorious 
and honorable brother officer. I have heard in such way as to 
believe it of your recently saying that both the army and the 
Government needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this, 
but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only 
those generals who gain successes can set up as dictators. What 
I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictator- 
ship. The Government will support you to the utmost of its 
ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will 
do for all commanders. I much fear the spirit you have aided 
to infuse into the army of criticising their commander and with- 
holding confidence from him, will now- turn upon you. I shall 


assist you as far as I can to put it down. Neither you nor Napo- 
leon, if he were alive again, could get any good out of an army 
while such a spirit prevails in it. And now, beware of rashness ! 
beware of rashness ! but with energy and sleepless vigilance, go 
forward and give us victories. 

Yours, very truly, 

A. Lincoln. 

The same day, in General Order No. I, Hooker assumed com- 
mand, saying, among other things, "in equipment, intelligence 
and valor, the enemy is our inferior. Let us never hesitate to 
give him battle wherever we can find him." Considering his 
enemy was in full view and there was no difficulty in finding 
him, his not attacking for over three months was a slight 
hesitation. Was it owing to their being inferior in equipment, 
in intelligence and valor? An interval of quiet now intervened, 
which was devoted to placing both armies in the best possible 
condition. Officers and privates amused themselves as best they 
could in passing the winter away. In the Second Federal corps, 
for instance, we are told by its commander that the "higher 
officers spend their time in reading newspapers or books, play- 
ing cards, or the politician, drinking whiskey and grumbling. Of 
course" (he says) "this charge does not include all by a long 
way, for it (viz: the corps) contains some of the finest officers 
that ever drew sword, from Major-General down"; and then signs 
it D. N. Couch,* Major-General commanding. The monotony 
was occasionally relieved by cavalry reconnoissances, skirmishes 
and encounters. 

One of these I shall mention briefly, because it was the hardest 
contested purely cavalry fight I participated in during the war, 
and because in it a young, rising and already celebrated artille- 
rist closed a short but brilliant career. 

In a dispatch to Halleck, Commander-in-Chief, dated March 
16th, 6.30 P. M., Hooker says: "This morning I dispatched three 
thousand cavalry to attack and break up the cavalry camp of 
Fitzhugh Lee and Hampton in the vicinity of Culpeper" (page 
799, Military Reports of Rebellion). Next, Butterfield, Chief of 
Staff to Hooker, in a dispatch to General Reynolds, of the First 
corps, gives the result: "I send you the following synopsis of 
Averell's affair. Captain Moore, of General Hooker's staff, who 
accompanied him, reports it as a brilliant and splendid fight — the 
best cavalry fight of the war — lasting five hours; charging and 
recharging on both sides; our men Using their sabres hand- 
somely, and with effect, driving the enemy three miles into cover 

*Letter to Seth Williams.— Page 776, Military Record of Rebellion. 


of earthworks and heavy guns. Forces about equal." Stanton, 
Secretary of War, then telegraphs to Hooker: "I congratulate 
you upon the success of General Averell's expedition. It is 
good for the first lick. You have drawn the first blood, and I 
hope now soon to see the boys up and at them." It was Sir 
Walter Raleigh who said "that human testimony was so unreli- 
able that no two men could see the same occurrence and give the 
same report of it." The official reports of Stuart and Fitzhugh 
Lee, written at the same time, tell us that the fighting at Kelleys- 
ville, was done alone by a portion of Fitzhugh Lee's brigade, 
without any other support being nearer to them than the main 
army at Fredericksburg, and that Averell was driven back across 
the river defeated. The absence of four squadrons on detached 
duty, and the detail of a large part of the command to go to 
their homes for fresh horses for the spring campaign, reduced 
the five regiments engaged to a total of less than eight hundred 
men in the saddle. The aggregate loss in men being one 
hundred and thirty-three, in horses one hundred and seventy- 
three; the latter is mentioned, because the ratio of horses 
killed to those wounded exceeded that of any cavalry engage- 
ment known to me. There were seventy-one horses killed, and 
eighty-seven wounded, which, with twelve captured on picket, 
would make the one hundred and seventy-three. This fact shows 
the closeness of the contending forces. Stuart and Pelham, his 
Chief of Artillery, were accidentally at Culpeper Courthouse in 
attendance on a courtmartial as witnesses, their quarters being 
in rear of Fredericksburg. Pelham was in the act of getting on 
the cars to return to his camp, when, hearing there was a pros- 
pect of a fight, he borrowed a horse, and Stuart and himself joined 
me on the field, though the former did not assume command. 
Yes ! Pelham fell at Kelleysville — a blue-eyed, light-haired boy, 
a graduate of West Point of the class of 1861, and an officer of 
superb courage and dash. A noble young Alabamian, immor- 
talized by Jackson saying, in substance, of his behavior in com- 
mand of the guns on the left at Sharpsburg, that an arm)' should 
have a Pelham on each flank. At Fredericksburg, General Lee 
calls him, in his official report, "the gallant Pelham," for with 
two guns, away out on the plain in front of Hamilton's crossing, 
he enfiladed the advancing Federal lines of battle, halted and 
held for a time Doubleday's division of the attacking column, 
sustaining as General Lee says (in his official report), the fire of 
four batteries "with that unflinching courage that ever distin- 
guished him." An old farmer in Maryland, looking at Pelham 's 
beardless face, girlish smile and slender figure, said to General 
Stuart, "Can these boys fight?" Aye! let Lee and Jackson tell. 


Let Stuart's general orders, March 30th, 1863, speak: "The 
Major-General Commanding approaches with reluctance the 
painful duty of announcing to the division its irreparable loss in 
the death of Major John Pelham, commanding the horse artil- 
lery. He fell mortally wounded in the battle of Kelleysville, 
March 17th, with the battle-cry on his lips and the light of vic- 
tory beaming from his eye. His eye glanced on every battlefield 
of this army from the first Manassas to the moment of his death, 
and he was, with a single exception, a brilliant actor in them all. 
The memory of the gallant Pelham, his many virtues, his noble 
nature, his purity of character, is enshrined as a sacred legacy 
in the hearts of all who knew him." Young as he was, "his 
mourners were two hosts — his friends and his foes." He was 
worthy to have his sword buried along side of him, that no less 
worthy hand might ever wield it; an honor paid to chevalier 
Bayard by the Spanish General in Francis the First's fatal Italian 
campaign against Charles the Fifth. Sleep on, gallant Pelham, 
and may your spirit "look through the vista to the everlasting 
hills, bathed in eternal sunlight." 

Spring had now arrived. "A thousand pearly drops, thrown 
by dewy morning into the valley's lap," could everywhere be 
seen. "And pushing the soil from her bonny pink shoulders, the 
clover glides forth to the world. Fresh mosses gleam in the 
gray, rugged boulders, with delicate May dew impearled. In 
the aisles of the orchard fair blossoms are drifting. The tulip's 
pale stalk from the garden is lifting a goblet of gems to the sun." 
Hooker must move now. On the nth of April he tells Lincoln 
that he "will have more chance of inflicting a heavier blow upon 
the enemy by turning his position to my right, and, if practicable, 
to sever his connection with Richmond with my dragoon force 
and such light batteries as may be deemed advisable to send with 
them." On the 13th he orders his cavalry forward to cross the 
upper fords of the Rappahannock, and swing from there around 
to Lee's rear. On the 14th they appeared and made a dash at 
Kelly's ford; but, in the words of W H. F Lee's report, "dashed 
back again from the fire of the picket of one hundred and fifty 
men, under Captain Boiling, Company G, Ninth Virginia cavalry." 
On the same day they succeeded in crossing at Rappahannock 
station, but on the appearance of reinforcements, recrossed. On 
the 15th they crossed at Beverley's and Welford's fords, but were 
driven back by W H. F Lee with Chambliss' Thirteenth Vir- 
ginia cavalry. At 10.15 P M. that night, Mr. Lincoln tele- 
graphed to Hooker: 


"The rain and mud of course were to be calculated upon. 
General Stoneman is not moving rapidly enough to make the 
expedition come to anything. He has now been out three days, 
two of which were unusually fair weather, and all free from hin- 
drance from the enemy, and yet he is not twenty-five miles from 
where he started. To reach his point, he has still sixty to go. 
By arithmetic, how many days will it take him to do it? Write 
me often. I am very anxious. 

"A. Lincoln." 

Heavy rains stopped Stoneman, the Federal account tells us, 
and he was directed to remain on Hooker's right, threatening the 
upper fords. This cavalry force, according to the consolidated 
morning report of the Army of the Potomac for April 30th, 1863, 
had an aggregate of officers and men of thirteen thousand three 
hundred and ninety-eight present for duty. His Chief Quarter- 
master, from Stoneman's new position, sent a return to army 
headquarters for rations for twelve thousand men and seventeen 
thousand horses. This did not include a brigade of Pleasanton's 
division of three regiments and a battery under that officer left 
behind with Hooker. 

The Federal army at this time consisted of seven corps, exclu- 
sive of the cavalry corps, viz: First, Reynolds; Second, Couch; 
Third, Sickles; Fifth, Meade; Sixth, Sedgwick; Eleventh, Howard; 
and Twelfth, Slocum — with three divisions to the corps, except 
Slocum, who only had two, making twenty divisions. Stone- 
man's cavalry corps consisted of three divisions, under Pleas- 
anton, Buford and Averell. General Hunt, as Chief of Artillery, 
had about three hundred and seventy-five cannon. The Federal 
returns of April 30th, before mentioned, gives, under the head 
of present for duty, one hundred and thirty thousand two hun- 
dred and sixty enlisted men; an aggregate of officers and men 
of one hundred and thirty eight thousand three hundred and 
seventy-eight present for duty, and a grand aggregate of one 
hundred and fifty-seven thousand nine hundred and ninety present; 
and under the head of present for duty equipped, there "is given 
only those who are actually available for the line of battle at the 
date of the report.'' We find a total of officers and men of one 
hundred and thirty-three thousand seven hundred and eight. 

On the Confederate side the force operating at Chancellorsville 
consisted of McLaws' and Anderson's divisions of Longstreet's 
corps (Hood's and Pickett's divisions of that corps, under Long- 
street, were in the vicinty of Suffolk, on the south side of James 
river) and Jackson s corps, of A. P Hill's, Early's, D. H. Hill's 
under Rodes, and Trimble's under Colston, and two brigades of 


cavalry under W H. F Lee and Fitzhugh Lee. Hampton's 
brigade was absent, having been sent to the interior to recruit, 
and W E. JOnes was in the Valley Present, then, we find six 
infantry divisions or twenty-eight brigades, and the cavalry bri- 
gades of nine regiments. The official return of the Army of 
Northern Virginia nearest to the battle extant — viz: 31st 'March, 
1863 — shows in Anderson's and McLaws' divisions, fifteen thou- 
sand six hundred and forty-nine; in Jackson's corps, thirty-three 
thousand three hundred and thirty -three ; in reserve artillery, six- 
teen hundred and twenty-one. That return puts the cavalry at 
six thousand five hundred and nine. My brigade numbered about 
fifteen hundred (it will be remembered at Kelleysville, two weeks 
before, it numbered eight hundred) and W H. F Lee's about 
twelve hundred, making twenty-seven hundred cavalry; and the 
discrepancy is accounted for by the fact that Hampton's and 
Jones' brigades were included in the return, because, though 
absent, they were included in the Army of Northern Virginia, 
and their returns sent to the Assistant Adjutant General at army 

Add fifteen thousand six hundred and fourty-nine, and thirty- 
three thousand three hundred and thirty-three, and sixteen hun- 
dred and twenty-one, and twenty-seven hundred together, and 
you have present at Chancellorsville a Confederate total of fifty- 
three thousand three hundred and three, with some one hundred 
and seventy pieces of artillery. My numbers differ from Walter 
Taylor's (fifty-seven thousand one hundred and twelve) by three 
thousand eight hundred and nine, which is the difference between 
six thousand five hundred and nine cavalry he gives and twenty- 
seven hundred, about the actual number present. Allan makes 
our force out fifty-eight thousand two hundred. Now let us see 
what one hundred and thirty-three thousand seven hundred and 
eight fighting men in blue did with fifty-three thousand three 
hundred and three "boys in gray." 

It will be demonstrated that "the finest army on the planet," 
as Hooker termed it, "was like the waves of the ocean driven 
upon the beach by some unseen force, and whose white crests 
were so soon broken into glittering jewels on the sand." On 
the 2 1st April, Hooker telegraphs to General Peck, who at Suf- 
folk was growing impatient, hoping to be relieved from the pres- 
sure against him by Hooker's movements: "You must be patient 
with me; I must play with these devils before I can spring." On 
the 26th April orders were issued for the Eleventh and Twelfth 
corps to march at sunrise on the 27th for Kelly's ford, and to be 
encamped there on the 28th by 4 P M. Stoneman's headquarters 
were then at Warrenton Junction. On the 27th April, Lincoln, 


who knows something is going on, telegraphs at 3.30 P M., 
"How does it look now?" Hooker replies: "I am not suffi- 
ciently advanced to give an opinion." On the -27th an order was 
sent to Couch, of the Second corps, to move two of his divisions 
to take post at United States ford, "the movement to be made 
quietly, and the officers and men to be restrained from exhibit- 
ing themselves." Troops to have eight days' rations. Bridge 
not to be laid at Banks' ford^until the night of the 29th. On 
the 27th the Fifth corps (Meade's) was moved to Hartwood 
church, and on the 28th to Kelly's ford. So much for the four 
corps and one division (Gibbon's) that were moving up the river 
to cross and swing around on the Confederate left and rear. The 
remaining three corps — viz : First, Third and Sixth — were ordered 
to cross the river below Fredericksburg at the mouth of Deep 
run, " Franklin's old crossing," and at Pollock's mill creek — the 
First and Sixth to be in position to cross on or before 3.30 A. M. 
of the 29th, and the Third on or before 4.30 A. M. of same day. 
These three corps were to constitute the left wing of the army — 
were to hold and amuse General Lee and prevent him from 
observing the great flank movement of the right wing, and to 
pursue him when manoeuvred out of his entrenchments by the 
approaching hosts on his left-rear. 

The aggregate present for duty on 30th April, 1863, in the 
First corps was seventeen thousand one hundred and thirty; in 
Third, seventeen thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine; in Sixth, 
twenty-two thousand four hundred and twenty-five; total, fifty- 
seven thousand four hundred and fourteen, or taking those actu- 
ally in line of battle, the present for duty equipped, and we have 
First corps, fourteen thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight; 
Third, sixteen thousand four hundred and ninety-one; Sixth, 
twenty-one thousand one hundred and eighty-two; total, fifty- 
two thousand four hundred and one. Hooker's original left wing 
was about equal in numbers, then, to General Lee's whole army, 
and his right wing, or marching column, of four infantry corps 
and one cavalry corps, would represent his numerical advantage 
in strength. , 

On the 30th the Third corps was ordered to move by the 
shortest road on Stafford side to United States ford and Chan- 
cellorsville; and at 8 A M. on that day, Sedgwick was ordered 
to make a demonstration on Hamilton's crossing, to see whether 
the Confederates still hugged their defences. On same day, 
Couch, of Second corps, was ordered to cross United States ford 
with two of his dvisions — the third (Gibbon's) being left at Fal- 
mouth. On the night of the 28th, Howard's Eleventh corps 
crossed Kelly's ford, a force being put over below the ford in 



boats, which moved up and took possession of it. On the morn- 
ing of the 29th the Twelfth and Fifth corps crossed. The force 
then over the river moved in two columns for the Rapidan — the 
Eleventh and Twefth, under Slocum, for Germanna ford, the 
Fifth for Ely's. Pleasanton, with one brigade of cavalry, accom- 
panied the infantry On the 28th Hooker's headquarters were 
at Moirisville; on the night of the 30th they were established 
at Chancellorsville, while Butterfield, his Chief of Staff, was left 
at Falmouth as a sort of connecting link between the two wings, 
and for the purpose of sending dispatches around generally. 

While these movements were in progress, what was General 
Lee doing? His army rested from the Rappahannock above 
Fredericksburg to Jackson's position at Moss Neck, fourteen 
miles below it. Anderson's division was on the extreme left — 
Mahone's and Posey's brigades being near United States ford, 
and Wilcox's brigade was at Banks' ford. Next to Anderson 
came McLaws' dvision; then Jackson's corps. The country be- 
tween the Rappahannock and Rapidan was occupied by Fitzhugh 
Lee's brigade of cavalry and two regiments of W H. F Lee s — 
the whole under Stuart, watching the fords of the upper Rappa- 
hannock. That stream protected Hooker's march up the river 
from view Our pickets were not encountered until the night of 
28th, when his advance crossed Kelly's ford. 

The Confederate commander knew a movement was in pro- 
gress. With the serenity of almost superhuman intelligence, he 
waited for it to be developed before his plans were laid to 
counteract it, for he remembered the maxim of the great Xapo- 
leon, that when your enemy is making a mistake, he must not 
be interrupted. His attention was first attracted by the enemy 
crossing in- boats before light on the 29th, driving off the pickets 
and proceeding to lay down the pontoons at two points — one, as 
we have seen, below the mouth of Deep run, the other a mile 
below. A considerable force, he saw. was crossed during the 
day and massed out of sight under the high banks of the river. 
Early's division of Jackson's corps, which was near Hamilton s 
crossing, was at once moved by its alert commander into line on 
the railroad, the right at Hamilton's, the left on Deep run, occu- 
pying at the same time the River road in his front by three regi- 
ments, keeping the enemy from advancing to it (Early's report). 
The remainder of Jackson's corps was that day moved from its 
camps near Grace church and Moss Neck to Hamilton's — Rodes, 
in command of D. H. Hill's division, going into line on Early's 
right, perpendicular to the railroad, and extending to Massapon- 
nax creek. Ramseur's brigade occupied the s< >uth side of the creek, 
guarding the ford near its mouth. Rodes' line, under the super- 


intendence of Colonels Thompson Brown and Tom Carter, was 
rapidly and strongly fortified. A. P Hill's and Trimble's divi- 
sions, the latter under Colston, were formed in rear. And so 
General Lee waited. 

Every country boasts its beautiful river. In France, the Seine 
with its hills and valleys, forests and meadows, villages, towns and 
populous cities. In England, the Thames, with its green fields 
and quiet hamlets. In Austria, the beautiful blue Danube. In 
Russia, the frozen Neva. In Germany, the castle-lined Rhine. 
In America, the Hudson, the Potomac and the Father of Waters; 
and yet their beauty and sublimity did not equal the Rappahan- 
nock when spanned by pontoons, over which thousands of armed 
men were crossing, and whose clear surface was soon to be crim- 
soned by the blood of heroes wrestling for supremacy along its 

Hooker's advance, it will be remembered, crossed Kelly's ford, 
away up beyond General Lee's left, on the night of the 28th 
(Tuesday). Stuart received the information at 9 P M. that night 
at Culpeper, and W H. F Lee, near Brandy, at once sent the 
Thirteenth Virginia cavalry to reinforce the pickets, and they 
checked the advance one mile from the ford. Orders were issued 
by Stuart that the enemy be enveloped with pickets; that his 
route from Kelly's might at once be ascertained, and that his 
whole cavalry force of seven regiments be thrown in his front to 
dispute his advance on daylight of the 29th. 

On the 29th, the enemy not advancing towards the position of 
the cavalry between Brandy and Kelly's, Stuart knew he must 
be going elsewhere; so leaving one regiment, the Thirteenth 
Virignia, in position, he moved around with the remainder to get 
on the road from Kelly's to Germanna, and at Madden's, the 
intersection of the Stephensburg and Richards' Ford with the 
Kelly's and Germanna road, he saw long columns of infantry 
marching for Germanna. His advance, Fitz. Lee's brigade, 
charged into the column, scattered, it at the point struck, and 
the road they were marching on was temporarily seized and held. 
From prisoners taken it was ascertained that two corps were on 
that road and one on the Ely's ford road, all marching on Chan- 
cellorsville. He at once informed General Lee by telegraph from 
Culpeper Courthouse of the fact. lie had previously transmitted 
intelligence that a large body of the enemy were passing up the 
river; on the forenoon of the 29th that they had crossed at Kelly's, 
and later, on same day, that they were marching on Chancellors- 
ville. After reaching that point he knew, too, the two wings of 
the Federal army were fourteen miles apart — the distance from 
Chanccllorsville to Deep run, below Fredericksburg — and that 


his army was between them. "Beware of rashness," General 
Hooker. Some fifty thousand "rebellious Rebels" have, by your 
own act, been placed between your two wings, and, what is worse 
for you, they are commanded by Lee and Jackson. Oh! "be- 
ware of rashness." General Lee perfectly understood the mili- 
tary problem thus presented to him. Drive the wedge in and 
keep the two parts asunder. If possible, hold one part still by 
a feint, or, if necessary, retard its march by a fight. Concentrate 
upon and overwhelm the other. Sedgwick, in command of the 
troops in the Confederate front, lay quiet while Hooker was 
massing at Chancellorsville. 

In a conversation with a Confederate officer at Lexington, on 
February 16th, 1868, General Lee said, in regard to Chancellors- 
ville, that "Jackson at first preferred to attack Sedgwick's force 
in the plain at Fredericksburg, but he told him he feared it was 
as impracticable as it was at the first battle of Fredericksburg. 
It was hard to get at the enemy and harder to get away if we 
drove him into the river." "But," said he to Jackson, "if you 
think it can be done, I will give orders for it." Jackson then 
asked to be allowed to examine the ground, and did so during 
the afternoon, and at night came to Lee and said he thought he 
(Lee) was right; "it would be inexpedient to attack there." 
" Move then," said Lee, "at dawn to-morrow (the 1st May) up to 
Anderson," who had been previously ordered to proceed -towards 
Chancellorsville; "and the next time I saw Jackson," said Gene- 
ral Lee, "was upon the next day, when he was on our skirmish 
line, driving in the enemy's skirmishers around Chancellorsville." 

Let us follow the movements there first. Hooker, at Morris- 
ville on the 28th, ordered his cavalry corps to cross the river 
that night or before 8 A. M. on the 29th, above Kelly's ford. A 
portion to move via Raccoon ford on the Rapidan to Louisa 
Courthouse, thence to the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Poto- 
mac railroad, to operate upon Lee's communications. Another 
portion was to follow the Orange and Alexandria railroad up 
through Culpeper, to occupy the Confederate cavalry and to 
mask the movement. Stuart received orders to get in front, if 
possible, of the enemy moving towards Chancellorsville, delay 
him and protect the left of the army. He left W H. F. Lee with 
two regiments, the Ninth and Tenth Virginia cavalry, about eight 
hundred troopers (the remaining two regiments of that brigade — 
viz: the Second North Carolina and the Tenth Virginia — being 
on detached duty), to contend, as best he could, with Stoneman's 
cavalry, numbering, by the return of April 30, 1863, an aggre- 
gate present for duty of thirteen thousand three hundred and 
ninety-eight, or "actually available for the line of battle," eleven 


thousand and seventy-nine — and which force all crossed the river 
with Stoneman, except three regiments' under Pleasanton, which 
were retained by Hooker for service with his army Fitz. Lee's 
brigade alone accompanied Stuart. It crossed the Rapidan at 
Raccoon ford on the night of the 29th April, and moved down 
the Plank road towards Chancellorsville. Couriers were sent to 
Germanna and Ely's fords to notify the Confederate pickets of 
the enemy's approach. These couriers were captured, and hence 
the notice was not received by them. By the good management 
of Captain Collins, of. the cavalry, the enemy's advance was 
checked for some time at Germanna, and his wagons and imple- 
ments saved — for he was fortifying it — though some of his men 
were captured. At Wilderness tavern, the intersection of Stuart's 
route with the road from Germanna, the marching infantry col- 
umn was again met, attacked and delayed. The Third Virginia 
cavalry was then in its front to check its march; but hearing that 
Meade, via Ely's ford, had already reached Chancellorsville, the 
march of the cavalry was directed to Todd's tavern, which was 
reached on the night of the 30th. Stuart, with his staff, then 
proceeded towards Fredericksburg, to report in person to Gene- 
ral Lee, but had not gone a mile before he was confronted by 
the enemy's cavalry. He sent back for a regiment. The Fifth 
Virginia was sent, which attacked and routed the force in his 
front. Another body of the Federal cavalry then came up in 
rear of the Fifth, to whose assistance the remainder of Fitz. Lee's 
brigade marched; when, by a series of charges in the bright 
moonlight of that night, the enemy were defeated and scattered. 
This force proved to be the Sixth New York cavalry, under 
Lieutenant-Colonel McVicar, who was returning from a recon- 
noissance made from Chancellorsville towards Spotsylvania 
Courthouse, and whose gallant commander was killed, for I 
know well he rode at the head of his men. 

The Third and Fourth cavalry were placed on General Lee's 
right flank, as he was moving on Chancellorsville; the First, 
Second and Fifth Virginia on his left, and these five regiments, 
with a portion of the Fifteenth Virginia, did duty for the Army 
of Northern Virginia. 

Military critics, in charging that Stuart was not in Hooker's 
front as he marched towards Chancellorsville, should recollect 
that Stoneman's cavalry corps, five times as great in numbers as 
Stuart's command, crossed on Hooker's right, and had to be 
watched and met. 

At midnight on the 29th April, Anderson's division, moving 
under orders, reached Chancellorsville. Posey and Mahone of 
that command were already there, having been withdrawn from 


United States or Bark Mill ford. Early on the morning of the 
30th, Anderson retired to the intersection of the Mine and Plank 
roads, near Tabernacle church, and began to entrench — the 
Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry, Hooker's advance, shirmishing 
with his rear guard as he left Chancellorsville. 

General Lee, having now decided to hold Sedgwick at arm's 
length while he hammered Hooker, entrusted the former duty 
to Early, giving him, in addition to his own division, Barksdale's 
brigade of McLaws' division and the reserve artillery under Pen- 
dleton. At midnight on the 30th, McLaws marched for Ander- 
son, reaching him before sunrise on the 1st of May At dawn, 
on May 1st, Jackson, too, marched for Anderson's position, reach- 
ing it at 8 A. M. At that hour he found Anderson entrenching 
along his line. Assuming command, Jackson ordered the work 
to be discontinued and the troops to be put in readiness to 
advance. At 1 1 A. M. Anderson moved out on the Plank road 
towards Chancellorsville, with the brigades of Wright and Posey 
leading, while McLaws marched on the Old turnpike, his advance 
being preceded by Mahone's brigade of Anderson s division, 
with Wilcox and Perry of the same division co-operating; while 
Jackson's corps, less Early's division, like the "Old Guard of 
Napoleon," followed Anderson. Alexander's battalion of artil- 
lery accompanied the advance. 

Hooker concentrated on the 30th his right wing at Chancel- 
lorsville, and was in high spirits, for he issued then his Genera'l 
Order No. 47, which curiously reads thus : " It is with heartfelt 
satisfaction that the Commanding-General announces to the army 
that the operations of the last three days have determined that 
our enemy must either ingloriously fly, or come out from behind 
his defences and give us battle on our own ground, where cer- 
tain destruction awaits him. The operations of the Fifth, Elev- 
enth and Twelfth corps have been a succession of splendid 
achievements." " Beware of rashness ! " General Hooker; your 
troops have only done some marching without opposition, and 
while you write your enemy is closing in upon you. 

On May 1st, Plooker, having been joined by Sickles' corps 
and the two divisions of Couch's corps, which had crossed at 
United States ford, determined to advance towards Fredericks- 
burg with the purpose of driving his enemy away from Banks' 
ford, six miles below, in order to open a shorter and more direct 
communication with his left wing — in ignorance of the objections 
General Lee had to such a movement, because it interfered with 
his plan to keep the wings apart. The Fifth corps was ordered 
down the River road, the Twelfth down the Plank road, with 
the Eleventh in its rear. A division and battery of the Second 


corps was sent to Todd's tavern, on the Spotsylvania Courthouse 
road from Chancellorsville. The other divisions and batteries to 
be massed near Chancellorsville; the Third corps to be massed 
on United States Ford road, about one mile from Chancellors- 
ville, except one brigade and one battery at Dowdall's, on Plank 
road, west of Chancellorsville; Pleasanton's cavalry to be at 
Chancellorsville, and Hooker's headquarters were ordered to be 
established at Tabernacle church — the movement to be completed 
by 2 o'clock. It was not completed. Indeed, as the head of the 
Twelfth corps, marching on the Plank road, emerged from the 
forest, they saw the Army of Northern Virginia advancing in 
line of battle. Then dropped, a little, Hooker's self-confidence. 

He says, fearing that he could not throw his troops through 
the forest fast enough, and apprehensive of being whipped in 
detail, he ordered his army to retire to their lines around Chan- 
cellorsville. Changing at this point his "offensive strategy" to 
"defensive tactics" was fatal to him. 

When Anderson met the enemy, Wright was ordered to turn 
his right with his brigade, and at Catharine furnace he had a 
sharp encounter with a portion of the Twelfth corps. Night 
stopped it, and at 10 P M. Jackson ordered him back to the 
Plank road, along which Posey had, in the meantime, advanced 
to within a short -distance of the enemy's entrenchments around 
Chancellorsville. McLaws had moved up the Old turnpike, 
Semmes' brigade on his left, and Mahone's, Wofford's and Perry's 
brigades of Anderson s division on his right, in the order named. 
Syke's regulars were first met. They attacked Semmes, but were 
repulsed. Kershaw's brigade went to Semmes' support, but was 
not engaged. Wilcox, with his brigade, was ordered to the right, 
on Mine (or River) road, the cavalry having reported an advance 
there. Meade, it will be remembered, was on that road. McLaws 
continued to go forward, and halting at dark, bivouacked along 
the heights just beyond the point where the Mine road crosses 
the turnpike. General Lee's line of battle was now within a mile 
of Chancellorsville, and close up to the enemy's entrenchments. 
Here, as he says, the enemy had "assumed a position of great 
natural strength, surrounded on all sides by a dense forest, filled 
with tangled undergrowth, in the midst of which breastworks of 
logs had been constructed with trees felled in front, so as to form 
an almost impenetrable abatis. His artillery swept the few narrow 
roads by which his position could be approached from the front, 
and commanded the adjacent works." 

The left of Hooker's lines, extending from Chancellorsville to 
the Rappahannock, covered the United States ford, where, using 
a pontoon, he communicated with Sedgwick. From Chancel- 


lorsville, the right of his line ran at first in front of the Plank 
road, but was then retired until it met again at Dowdall's or 
Melzei Chancellor's, the line forming the arc — the road the chord. 
From Dowdall's the line ran west to Wilderness church. At 
that point separates the Plank road and Old turnpike, which from 
Chancellorsville had been the same road, the former being the 
most southerly one. 

Hooker's line ran west from this point along the Old turnpike. 
His right was held by O. O. Howard's Eleventh corps — two regi- 
ments and two companies of Colonel Van Gilsa's brigade of 
Devens' division occupying the extreme right, at right angles to 
the Old turnpike and to the west of the line running, in part, 
along it to the north of it, and facing west. Howard's report, 
which I quote partly to show the different nations the Southern 
people were fighting, says : " Schurz prolonged Devens' line east- 
ward. He had three regiments of General Schimmelfennig's 
deployed and two in reserve; also two regiments of Colonel 
Krzyzanowski's brigade. General Steinwehr had two regiments 
of Colonel Bushbeck's and four guns of General Wiederich's 
were posted on Steinwehr's right." 

Hooker's line of battle was in the shape of a V, well spread 
open at the ends, the apex being at Chancellorsville. 

The problem presented to General Lee's mind on Friday night, 
May 1st, was to decide how best to attack Hooker's army on the 
morning of May 2d. Time was an important element; for near 
Fredericksburg, in his rear, was Sedgwick, largely outnumbering 
the Confederate force in his front under Early During the 
afternoon* General Lee wished to attack from his right and cut 
Hooker off from United States ford, severing his communications 
with Sedgwick, and rode down himself and examined the lines 
all the way to the river, but found no place where he could do 
so. Returning at night, he found Jackson, and asked him if he 
knew of any place to attack. Jackson said, " No." Lee said, 
"Then we must get around on the Federal right." Jackson said 
he had been inquiring about roads by the furnace. Stuart came 
up then, and said he would go down to the furnace and see what 
he could learn about roads. He soon returned with Rev. Dr. B. 
T. Lacy, who said "a circuit could be made around by Wilderness 
tavern"; and a young man living in the county, and then in the 
cavalry, was sent for to act as guide. 

Ah ! what an earnest talk Lee and Jackson had on the night of 
May the 1st. At sunset they took their seats on a log on the 
right or north side of the Plank road, and a little distance in the 
woods. Colonel Marshall, the well-known aid-de-camp of Gene- 
ral Lee, was the only other person present, having been ordered 


to come to the spot for the purpose of writing a letter to Mr. 
Davis, dictated by General Lee. Marshall sat on the end of a 
fallen tree, within three feet of the two Generals, and heard every 
word that passed between them, and this is what he tells me Lee 
and Jackson talked about on that eventful night: "Jackson spoke 
to General Lee about what he had seen and heard during the 
advance, and commented upon the promptness with which the 
enemy had appeared to abandon his movements towards Frede- 
ricksburg when opposed, and the ease with which he had been 
driven back to Chancellorsville, and concluded by expressing 
the opinion very decidedly, and repeating it more than once, that 
the enemy would recross the Rappahannock before morning. He 
said, in substance, 'by to-morrow morning there will not be any 
of them this side of the river.' General Lee expressed the hope 
that General Jackson's expectations might be realized, but said 
'he did not look for such a result; that he did' not believe the 
enemy would abandon his attempt so easily,' and expressed his 
conviction that the main body of General Hooker's army was in 
his front, and that the real move was to be made from this direc- 
tion, and not from Fredericksburg. On this point there was a 
great difference of opinion among our higher officers, and Gene- 
ral Lee was the only one who seemed to have the absolute con- 
viction that the real movement of the Federal army was the one 
he was then meeting. In this belief he never wavered from the 
first. After telling General Jackson that he hoped his opinion 
might be proved to be correct, General Lee added : ' But, Gene- 
ral, we must get ready to attack the enemy if we should find him 
here to-morrow, and you must make all arrangements to move 
around his right flank.' General Lee then took up the map, and 
pointed out to Jackson the general direction of his route by the 
Furnace and Brock roads. Some conversation took place as to 
the importance of endeavoring to conceal the movement from 
the enemy, and as to the existence of roads further to the ene- 
my's right, by which General Jackson might pass so as not to 
be exposed to observation or attack. The general line of Jack- 
son s route was pointed out, and the necessity of celerity and 
secrecy was enjoined upon him. The conversation was a lengthy 
one, and at the conclusion of it, General Lee said to Jackson 
'that before he moved in the morning, if he should have any 
doubt as to whether the enemy was still in position, he could 
send a couple of guns to a spot close by, and open fire on the 
enemy's position, which would speedily settle the question.' 
From the spot referred to, two of our guns had to be withdrawn 
that afternoon, as the infantry were suffering from the fire they 
were drawing from the enemy, General Jackson then withdrew, 


and General Lee dictated to Colonel Marshall a long letter to 
President Davis, giving him fully the situation. In it he re- 
greted he would not have the assistance of Pickett's and Hood's 
divisions, but expressed his confidence in the good judgment 
that had withdrawn and kept them from him, and closed with the 
hope that, notwithstanding all our dangers and disadvantages, 
Providence would bless the efforts which he was sure his brave 
army would make to deserve success." 

I give all this in detail to show the errors writers upon Chan- 
cellorsville have fallen into in reference to the origin of Jackson's 
famous flank movement. 

And as settling the question as to who originated this move- 
ment, I give the following extract from a letter written by Gene- 
ral Lee to Rev. Dr. A. T. Bledsoe, in reply to one from Dr. 
Bledsoe, in which he asked the direct question as to whether 
Jackson's move originated with himself or was suggested by 

General Lee: 

Lexington, Va., October 28th, 1867. 
Dr. A. T. Bledsoe, 

Office "Southern Review," Baltimore, Md.: 

My Dear Sir — 
In reply to your inquiry, I must acknowledge that I have not 
read the article on Chancellorsville in the last number of the 
Southern Review, nor have I read any of the books published on 
either side since the termination of hostilities. I have as yet felt 
no desire to revive my recollections of those events, and have 
been satisfied with the knowledge I possessed of what transpired. 
I have, however, learned from others that the various authors of 
the life of Jackson award to him the credit of the success gained 
by the Army of Northern Virginia where he was present, and 
describe the movements of his corps or command as independent 
of the general plan of operations, and undertaken at his own sug- 
gestion and upon his own responsibility I have the greatest 
reluctance to do anything that might be considered as detracting 
from his well-deserved fame, for I believe that no one was more 
convinced of his worth, or appreciated him more highly, than 
myself; yet your knowledge of military affairs, if you have none 
of the events themselves, will teach you that this could not have 
been so. Every movement of an army must be well considered 
and properly ordered, and every one who knows General Jackson 
must know that he was too good a soldier to violate this funda- 
mental military principle. In the operations around Chancellors- 
ville, I overtook General Jackson, who had been placed in com- 
mand of the advance as the skirmishers of the approaching 
armies met, advanced with the troops to the Federal line of 


defences, and was on the field until their whole army recrossed 
the Rappahannock. There is no question as to who was respon- 
sible for the operations of the Confederates, or to whom any 
failure would have been charged. 

What I have said is for your own information. With my best 
wishes for the success of the Southern Review and for your own 
welfare, in both of which I take a lively interest, 

I am, with great respect, your friend and servant, 

R. E. Lee. 

In a little pine thicket close by the scene of this conference, 
General Lee and staff bivouacked that night. During the evening 
reports reached him from Early that all was quiet along the Rap- 
pahannock. Wilcox was ordered back to Banks' ford, in conse- 
quence of other rumors. Lee's orders had been issued, his plans 
digested — -his trusty Lieutenants were to carry them out; the 
Chieftain slept. Hooker at Chancellorsville, one and a half miles 
away, was, however, awake, for at 1.55, on the morning of the 
2d of May, he dispatched to Butterfield, to order the pontoon 
bridges taken up below Fredericksburg and Reynolds' corps to 
march at once to his headquarters. 

The morning of May the 2d, 1863, broke clear. General Lee 
emerged from the little thicket and stood on its edge at sunrise, 
erect and soldierly, to see Jackson s troops file by. They had 
bivouacked on his right, and were now commencing the flank 
movement. About half an hour after sunrise Jackson himself 
came riding along. When opposite to General Lee he drew rein 
and the two conversed for a few minutes. Jackson then started 
forward, pointing in the direction his troops were moving. His 
face was a little flushed, Colonel Marshall says, as it was turned 
back towards General Lee, who nodded approval to what he had 

The sun rose unclouded and brilliant, gilding the hilltops and 
penetrating the vapors of the Valley. Rising as gorgeous as did 
the " sun of Austerlitz," which produced such an impression upon 
the imagination of Napoleon; it should be remembered by the 
people of the South, for its rays fell upon the last meeting, in 
this world, of Lee and Jackson. The Duke of Wellington is 
reported to have said "a man of refined Christian sensibilities is 
totally unfit for the profession of a soldier," but here were two 
devoted Christians, who faithfully performed all their duties; and 
so they parted. 

General Lee was to keep fourteen thousand men in front of 
Hooker's seventy-three thousand one hundred and twenty-four 
while Jackson moved around his right flank with twenty-six 


thousand. I say seventy-three thousand one hundred and twenty- 
four, because the Fifth, Eleventh and Twelfth corps numbered, 
according to the return of April the 30th, an aggregate present 
for duty of forty-two thousand nine hundred and fourteen; the 
Third, eighteen thousand nine hundred and eighty-six, and two 
divisions of the Second corps, eleven thousand two hundred and 
twenty-four. The total, then, would be seventy-three thousand 
one hundred and twenty-four — not including the three cavalry 
regiments under Pleasanton. The Second corps numbered sixteen 
thousand eight hundred and thirty-six; but Gibbon's division of 
that corps was with Sedgwick. Putting one-third of the whole 
as Gibbon's strength, we would have five thousand six hundred 
and twelve men, leaving eleven thousand two hundred and twenty- 
four for the other two divisions. The First corps, Reynolds, was 
not then present, and is, therefore, not included. On the 2d of 
May, it was marching from Sedgwick to Hooker, but it did not 
get to him until daylight on the 3d. This corps numbered an 
aggregate present for duty on the 30th of April, nineteen thousand 
five hundred and ninety-five. After its arrival, that portion of 
the Federal army in General Lee's front amounted to ninety-two 
thousand seven hundred and nineteen. The strategy of General 
Lee was bold but dangerous. 

At the battle of Austerlitz, when the Russians made a flank 
movement upon Napoleon's right, he moved at once upon the 
weakened lines of the Allies in his front and pierced them; cut- 
ting the Russian army in two parts, leaving some battalions to 
hold the right wing, he wheeled the remainder upon the left wing, 
or flanking force, and destroyed it; then, turning towards the 
right wing, he directed upon it a terrible onset, and it too was no 
more. I am told that the men of Anderson, which was one of 
the two divisions left in Hooker's front, after Jackson's departure, 
and who formed a thin gray line tipped with steel, were about six 
feet apart. How long would it have taken seventy-three thousand 
one hundred and twenty-four men to have pierced General Lee's 
centre? While the Commanding-General is thus situated — a con- 
dition which has Early's sincere sympathy, being in a similar 
situation in Sedgwick's front at Fredericksburg — let us follow 
Jackson. Turning to the left upon the Plank road, near Aldrich's, 
he moved rapidly diagonally across Hooker's line of battle, 
screened from view by the forest and by Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, 
which had been ordered to mask the movement, as well as to 
precede it. Birney of Sickles' corps, who with his division was 
wedged in between Howard's left and Slocum's right, on the crest 
of Scott's run as early as 8 A. M., reported to Sickles that a con- 
tinuous column of infantry, trains and ambulances was passing 


his front towards the right. He ordered Clark's battery to go 
forward to a commanding eminence and fire into the column. 
At 12 M. Sickles ordered him to move forward, supported by 
Whipple's division and Barlow's brigade from Howard, pierce 
the column and gain the road they were moving over. This 
movement was reported to Hooker; he thought the Confederate 
army was in full retreat, and this is the explanation of his dispatch 
to Sedgwick on that day, ordering him to pursue the enemy on 
the Bowling Green road. It is dated at 4. 10 P M., and said : " We 
know the enemy is flying, trying to save his trains; two of Sickles' 
divisions are amongst them." Jackson, upon passing Catharine 
furnace, where a road came in from Sickles' line, a mile distant, 
directed Rodes to leave Colonel Best's Twenty-third Georgia 
regiment there to guard it. It was these troops Sickles reports 
as having attacked and captured four hundred of them. Pleasanton 
was with Sickles, in command of the Sixth New York, Eighth 
and Seventeenth Pennsylvania cavalry. Colonel. J. Thompson 
Brown, who had just passed this point with his battalion of 
artillery, halted, and at once put his guns in position. The two 
nearest brigades of Jackson's column — Archer's and Thomas' of 
Hill's division — supported him, and Sickles' advance was checked, 
They then renewed their march — Anderson having replaced them 
by Posey's brigade, supported by Wright's. Sickles, however, 
gained the road Jackson was marching upon, and was promised 
the co-operation of Howard and Slocum in pursuing the flying 

Jackson was marching on. My cavalry was well in his front. 
Upon reaching the Plank road, some five miles west of Chancel- 
lorsville, my command was halted, and while waiting for Jackson 
to come up, I made a personal reconnoissance to locate the Fed- 
eral right for Jackson's attack. With one staff officer, I rode 
across and beyond the Plank road, in the direction of the Old 
turnpike, pursuing a path through the woods, momentarily ex- 
pecting to find evidence of the enemy's presence. Seeing a 
wooded hill in the distance, I determined, if possible, to get upon 
its top, as it promised a view of the adjacent country. Cautiously 
I ascended its side, reaching the open spot upon its summit 
without molestation. What a sight presented itself before me! 
Below, and but a few hundred yards distant, ran the Federal line 
of battle. I was in rear of Howard's right. There were the 
lines of defence, with abatis in front, and long lines of stacked 
arms in rear. Two cannon were visible in the part of the line 
seen. The soldiers were in groups in the rear, laughing, chat- 
tin<T, smoking, probably engaged, here and there, in games of 
cards and other amusements indulged in while feeling safe and 


comfortable, awaiting orders. In rear of them were other parties 
driving up and butchering beeves. The remembrance of the 
scene is as clear as it was sixteen years ago. So impressed was 
I with my discovery, that I rode rapidly back to the point on 
the Plank road where I had left my cavalry, and back down the 
road Jackson was moving on, until I met "Stonewall" himself. 
" General," said I, " if you will ride with me, halting your column 
here, out of sight, I will show you the enemy's right, and you 
will perceive the great advantage of attacking down the Old 
turnpike instead of the Plank road, the enemy's lines being taken 
in reverse. Bring only one courier, as you will be in view from 
the top of the hill." Jackson assented, and I rapidly conducted 
him to the point of observation. There had been no change in 
the picture. 

I only knew Jackson slightly. I watched him closely as he 
gazed upon Howard's troops. It was then about 2 PM. His 
eyes burned with a brilliant glow, lighting up a sad face. His 
expression was one of intense interest; his face was colored 
slightly with the paint of approaching battle, and radiant at the 
success of his flank movement. Was he happy at the prospect 
of the " delightful excitement — terms, Dick Taylor says, he used 
to express his pleasure at being under fire? To the remarks 
made to him while the unconscious line of blue was pointed out, 
he did not reply once during the five minutes he was on the hill, 
and yet his lips were moving. From what I have read and heard 
of Jackson since that day, I know now what he was doing then. 
Oh! "beware of rashness," General Hooker. Stonewall Jackson 
is praying in full view and in rear of your right flank ! 

While talking to the great God of Battles, how could he hear 
what a poor cavalryman was saying? "Tell General Rodes," 
said he, suddenly whirling his horse towards the courier, "to 
move across the Old plank-road; halt when he gets to the Old 
turnpike, and I will join him there." One more look upon the 
Federal lines, and then he rode rapidly down the hill, his arms 
flapping to the motion of his horse, over whose head he seemed, 
good rider as he was, he would certainly go. I expected to be 
told I had made a valuable personal reconnoissance — saving the 
lives of many soldiers, and that Jackson was indebted to me 
to that amount at least. Perhaps I might have been a little 
chagrined at Jackson's silence, and hence commented inwardly 
and adversely upon his horsemanship. Alas ! I had looked upon 
him for the last time. 

While Jackson s column was moving to the Old turnpike, my 
cavalry, supported by the Stonewall brigade under Paxton, moved 
a short distance down the Plank road to mask the movement. 


Rodes' division — Jackson's advance — reached the Old turnpike 
about three miles in rear of Chancellorsville, at 4 P M. (Gene- 
ral Lee's report). "As the different divisions arrived, they were 
formed at right angles to the road" — Rodes in front; Trimble's 
division, under Colston, in the second line, two hundred yards 
in rear of Rodes, and A. P Hill's division in the third line. 

At 6 P M., all being ready, Jackson ordered the advance. 
Howard, commanding Hooker's right, was at that moment at 
Dowdall's or Melzei Chancellor's, his headquarters. Carl Schurz 
was with him. Howard's right division was commanded by 
General Charles Devens. He reported the enemy's cavalry, with 
horse artillery, deployed in his front at 4 P M. 

Jackson's men burst with a cheer upon the startled enemy, 
and swept down in rear of Howard's line, capturing cannon be- 
fore they could be turned upon them. Howard reports as the 
only fighting that parts of Schimmelfennig's and Krzyzanowski's 
brigades moved gradually back, keeping up a fire, and that "at 
the centre and near the Plank road, there was a blind panic and 
a great confusion." Devens, the present Attorney-General, fell 
back rapidly, very rapidly, upon Schurz, the present Secretary of 
the Interior, commanding the next division, and Hooker's right 
flank was yielded up by Howard. Sickles, while trying to cut 
off Jackson, came near being cut off himself. Pleasanton, who 
was with him, says he sent back the Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry, 
and hurled it at Jackson's corps, with heavy loss to them, but he 
gained fifteen minutes, which enabled him to put twenty-two guns 
double shotted with canister in position before the Rebels came 
in sight, supporting them by two small squadrons of cavalry 

"In rear of the Eleventh corps the Rebels came on," says 
Pleasanton, "rapidly, but now in silence, with that skill and 
adroitness they often display to gain their object. The only 
color visible was the American flag with the centre battalion. 
To clear up this doubt, my aid-de-camp, Lieutenant Thompson, 
First New York cavalry, rode to within one hundred yards of 
them, when they called out to him, ' We are friends ! come on,' 
and he was induced to go fifty yards closer, when the whole line, 
in a most dastardly manner, opened on him with musketry, and 
dropped the American colors and displayed eight or ten Rebel 
battle flags. He escaped unhurt!" One of the most wonderful 
things of this most wonderful battle, is this statement that a 
mounted officer fifty yards from Rodes' line should be fired at 
by the whole line and live to tell it! 

In his official report, Rodes says "the enemy, being taken in 
flank and rear, did not wait for an attack." Colston's division 
followed so rapidly, that they went over the works at Melzei 


Chancellor's with Rodes' men. Both divisions entered together 
a second piece of woods, filled with abatis. It was then dark, 
and the whole line was halted to reform. There was then no line 
of battle between our troops and Chancellorsville, says Rodes, 
and so the gallant Crutchfield opened his batteries upon that 
point. "The enemy instantly responded," Rodes continues, 
"with a terrific fire, which silenced our guns, but did little execu- 
tion on the infantry " The fire was probably from the twenty- 
two guns before mentioned. Hill then came up and his men 
were deployed in Rodes front. At 9 P M. Jackson ordered him 
to take charge of the pursuit (Hill's report). As soon as the fire 
from the enemy's artillery had ceased, Lane's brigade, Hill's 
advance, formed its line of battle — the Thirty-third North Caro- 
lina deployed in its front as skirmishers; the Seventh and Thirty- 
seventh North Carolina on the right of the road; the Eighteenth 
and Twenty-eighth North Carolina on the left. Jackson was 
eager to push forward to cut Hooker off from the fords of the 
Rappahannock. Hill came up, stopping a few feet in front of 
his line. Jackson was then in sight and both some paces in front 
of Hill. 

Sending the only staff officer to Hill to tell him to move for- 
ward as soon as possible, Jackson rode slowly along the pike 
towards the enemy. Captain Wilbourn, of his Signal corps, was 
on his left side, two of the Signal corps just behind them, followed 
by couriers. Jackson was desirous of getting information useful 
to Hill's advance, thinking perhaps a skirmish line was still in 
his front. Jackson and his little party had ridden but a few rods, 
reaching a point near an old dismantled house to the right of the 
pike, when he was fired on by our troops to the right of the pike, 
the balls passing diagonally across — one musket firing first, per- 
haps accidentally. Many of his escort and their horses were 
shot down by this fire. Jackson, Captain Wilbourn and the few 
who were not dismounted wheeled their horses to the left and 
galloped in the woods to get out of range, but were then fired* 
on by the troops to the left of the road, when within thirty yards 
of the line, having been taken for a body of the enemy's cavalry 
By this fire General Jackson was wounded. The troops near the 
road did not fire, because they knew Jackson had passed out. 
For the minute particulars of this sad calamity, I must refer you 
to Captain Wilbourn's account, quoted in an article by General 
Early in the December, 1878, number of the Southern Historical 
Papers, for now I adopt the words of General Lee, as in bed that 
night, resting on his elbow, he listened to Captain Wilbourn's 
report, he said: "Ah! Captain, don't let us say anything more 
about it, it is too painful to talk about." The enemy then opened 


a furious fire of shot, shell and canister, sweeping down the road 
and the woods upon each side. A. P Hill and Colonel Crutch- 
field were disabled by this fire, and among others General Nicholls, 
of the Louisiana brigade, the present Governor of his State, had 
his left leg torn off by a shell. Rodes, next in rank, assumed com- 
mand of the corps, but relinquished it to General Stuart, who 
had been sent for, because, in his own modest words, he was 
"satisfied the good of the service demanded it." 

" And shall Trelawney die ! and shall Trelawncy die ! 
Then thirty thousand Cornish boys shall know the reason why." 

Stuart was near Ely's ford with the cavalry and the Sixteenth 
North Carolina infantry, having gone there after dark to hold 
Averell still, who, having returned from his raid, was reported to 
be at that point. At 10.30 P M. Captain Adams, of Hill's staff, 
summoned him to the command of Jackson's corps. Upon his 
arrival upon the battlefield, Jackson had been taken to the lear, 
but A. P Hill, who was still there, turned over the command to 
him. With the assistance of Colonel E. P Alexander, of the 
artillery, he was engaged all night in preparations for the morrow. 
At early dawn on the 3d, Stuart pressed the corps forward — 
Hill's division in the first line, Trimble's in second and Rodes' in 
rear. As the sun lifted the mist, the ridge to his right was found 
to be a commanding position for artillery Quickly thirty pieces, 
under Colonels T H. Carter and Hilary P Jones, were firing from 
it. Their fire knocked a piece of the door or pillar of the apart- 
ment Hooker was occupying at Chancellorsville against him, and 
struck him down senseless. Pleasanton says when he saw him 
about 10 A. M. that day, "he was lying on the ground, usually 
in a doze, except when I woke him up to attend to some im- 
portant dispatch." Couch was then temporarily called to the 
command. Stuart pressed onward. At one time his left was so 
strongly pressed that his three lines were merged into one while 
holding his position. He replied to a notice sent him that the 
men were out of ammunition, that they must hold their ground 
with the bayonet. About this time Stuart's right connected with 
Anderson's left, uniting thus the two wings of General Lee's 
army. He then massed infantry on his left, and at <S A. I\I. 
stormed the enemy's works. Twice he was repulsed, but the 
third time Stuart placed himself on horseback at the head of the 
troops, and ordering the charge, carried and held them — singing, 
with a ringing voice, "Old Joe Hooka-, 10011 1 yon come out of the 
Wilderness /" An eye-witness says of him that he could not 
o'et rid of the impression that "Harrv of Navarre" led the 

fc> *■ "" 


charge, except that Stuart's plume was black, for everywhere the 
men "followed his feather." 

Anderson gallantly moved direct upon Chancellorsville, while 
McLaws made a strong demonstration in his front. At 10 A. M. 
the position at Chancellorsville was won, and the enemy had 
withdrawn to a strong position near the Rappahannock. 

Preparations were at once made to attack him again, when 
further operations were arrested by the intelligence received from 
Fredericksburg. It will be remembered that Sedgwick was 
originally left in front of Fredericksburg with the First, Third 
and Sixth corps and one division of the Second corps. On the 
30th of April at 12.30 P M., Sickles left him. On the 2d of May 
the First corps was ordered away from him. Sedgwick was then 
left, Hooker says, with thirty-two thousand four hundred and 
twenty men. By the returns of April 30th the Sixth corps num- 
bered an aggregate present for duty of twenty-three thousand 
seven hundred and thirty. Giving Gibbon s division one-third 
of the Second corps' strength (being three divisions to the corps), 
he would have five thousand six hundred and twelve present for 
duty. Add that strength to that of the Sixth corps and you 
will have twenty-nine thousand three hundred and forty-two for 
Sedgwick's total, exclusive of the reserve artillery. On May 2d, 
9.55 A. M., Hooker telegraphs him: "You are all right. You 
have but Early's division in your front; balance all up here." 
Opposing Sedgwick, Early had his division, numbering by the 
returns of April 20th — the nearest one to the battle — an aggre- 
gate of officers and men of seven thousand eight hundred and 
seventy-nine. Deducting losses since the date of the returns, 
this division carried into action about seven thousand five hun- 
dred officers and men (Early's narrative). Barksdale's brigade 
numbered fifteen hundred in the aggregate (Early's narrative). 
It was under Early's command. The total infantry, officers and 
men, would be then nine thousand, or a little over eight thou- 
sand muskets. In addition, Early had Andrews' battalion of 
artillery, of twelve guns; Graham's, four guns; a Whitworth 
gun posted below the Massaponnax, and portions of Walton's, 
Cabell's and Cutt's battalions of artillery, under General' Pendle- 
ton — making in all some forty-five or fifty guns (Early's narra- 
tive); a less number than Sedgwick, and far inferior in weight of 

At 9 P M. on the 2d, after Jackson's success, Hooker tele- 
graphs Sedgwick to cross the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg, 
and to move up the road to Chancellorsville until he connects 
with him, destroying Early in his front. He tells him then that 
he will probably fall upon the rear of the troops commanded by 


General Lee, and between Hooker and himself Lee must be used 
up. This order was issued under the impression that Sedgwick 
was on the north side of the river, but it found him below Frede- 
ricksburg on the south side. The night was so bright Hooker 
says that staff officers could see to write their dispatches by 
moonlight. Gibbon, near Falmouth, was also ordered to cross 
the river on the night of 2d. Sedgwick, Hooker tells us, did 
not obey the spirit of the order, and delayed too long. Warren 
told him that if he (Warren) had not been there, Sedgwick would 
not have moved at all. At 1 1 P M. Sedgwick received this order 
to cross (Sedgwick's report). Being already over, he began to 
move by the flank up the Bowling Green road towards Frede- 
ricksburg, leaving one division in front of Early's right. About 
daylight he occupied the town. Gibbon crossed early on the 3d, 
and at 7 A. M. was formed on Sedgwick's right. In moving 
forward to turn our left he was stopped by the canal. Sedgwick 
then determined to assault Marye's and the contiguous hills, and 
did so. His right column, under Colonel Spear, consisted of 
four regiments; his left of two regiments, under Colonel Johns. 
Both columns, supported by four other regiments under Colonel 
Burnham, moved upon Marye's hill, while Howe's division ad- 
vanced rapidly in three columns of assault on the left of Hazel 
run, upon Lee's hill. But what was Early doing? With his 
nine thousand infantry he occupied a line six miles long, from 
Hamilton's crossing to a point on the river above Fredericks- 
burg. Sedgwick had, as stated before, twenty-nine thousand 
three hundred and forty-two men. Add to that four officers and 
an hundred men of cavalry, and thirty-three officers and eleven 
hundred and three men of artillery, and his whole force amounted 
to thirty thousand five hundred and eighty-two. Barksdale 
'held the left of Early's lines from Taylor's hill to the hill in rear 
of Howison's house. Early's division was on the right from 
Hamilton's to Deep run, while between Deep run and the right 
of Lee's hill only pickets were placed, protected by a cross fire 
of artillery. Early's general instructions were to retard the 
enemy's advance in any direction if he mov.ed, or to keep him 
still if he would remain so, or to join the main army of General 
Lee in the event of the enemy withdrawing from his front. 
These instructions were repeated on the 2d instant, but by a mis- 
apprehension of the officer conveying them, Early was directed 
to move unconditionally to General Lee. Leaving Hays' brigade 
and one regiment of Barksdale's at Fredericksburg, and directing 
a part of Pendleton's reserve artillery to be sent to the rear, he 
be^an his march. The mistake being corrected, Early returned 
to his position. Hays' brigade had been sent to reinforce Barks- 


dale, when Sedgwick occupied Fredericksburg, at dawn on the 

When Early began to withdraw, Professor Lowe went up high 
in a balloon, but discovered nothing. To quote General Early, 
"Professor Lowe's balloon reconnoissance so signally failed on 
this occasion, and in the operations around Chancellorsville, that 
they were abandoned for the rest of the war, and our men were 
deprived of the benefit of these, to us, cheap and harmless ex- 

Soon after daylight Sedgwick moved against Marye's hill, but 
was repulsed by Barksdale's infantry and Pendleton's artillery. 
His force also endeavored to turn the left of Early's division, 
commanded by Hoke, up Deep run; but the demonstration was 
checked. An attempt was also made to turn our extreme left 
near Taylor's house; it was prevented by General Hays and the 
arrival of General Wilcox from Banks' ford. The enemy then 
advanced against Marye's hill and the hills to the right and left 
of it. Marye's hill was defended by one small regiment, three 
companies of another and four pieces of artillery (Barksdale's 
report). Sedgwick said he lost one thousand men in ten min- 
utes there. Two assaults on Marye's hill were repulsed. A flag 
of truce was then sent by the enemy to obtain permission to 
provide for the wounded. The weakness of our lines was seen. 
A third assault was ordered, and was successful. We lost eight 
pieces of artillery upon that and the adjacent heights. Barks- 
dale and Hays retired down the Telegraph road, and the enemy's 
advance was checked by Early, who sent three regiments of 
Gordon's brigade to reinforce them. 

Wilcox threw himself in front of Sedgwick's advance up the 
Plank road, having with him about fifty cavalry, under Collins, 
and most gallantly disputed it — falling back slowly until he reached 
Salem church, five miles from Fredericksburg. Lieutenant Pitzer, 
of Early's staff, who was on Lee's hill when it was carried, 
galloped at once to General Lee, and so informed him. McLaws, 
with his three brigades and one of Anderson's, was ordered to 
reinforce Wilcox, that Sedgwick might be kept off Lee's rear. 
Wilcox was found in line at Salem. Kershaw and Wofford were 
placed on his right; Semmes and Mahone on his left. The 
enemy then advanced in three lines, principally upon Wilcox. 
After a fierce struggle, they were repulsed and fled in confusion, 
pursued for nearly a mile by Wilcox and Semmes, until met by 
the enemy's reserve. They then retired to their former posi- 

McLaws communicated with Early that night, asking his 
plans. Early replied that he proposed to attack in the morning and 


drive the enemy from Marye's and Lee's hills, extending his left 
so as to connect with Mc Laws' right, and asking his co-opera- 
tion. That night he received a note from General McLaws 
assenting to the plan and containing General Lee's approval of 
it too. Early on the morning of the 4th, Early advanced along 
the Telegraph road, regaining Marye's and the adjacent hills, 
but he could not hear McLaws' guns. McLaws says in his 
report that he agreed to advance, provided Early would attack 
first, and did advance his right (Kershaw and Wofford to co-operate 
with him); but finding his force insufficient for a front attack, he 
withdrew to his lines of the previous evening. In the meantime, 
Early was informed that Anderson was coming and not to attack 
until he was in position, connecting with Early's left, when, at a 
signal to be given by firing three guns rapidly, Sedgwick was to 
be assaulted by Anderson, McLaws and Early, under the imme- 
diate command, of General Lee. Anderson reached Salem church 
about noon, but the attack did not begin until 6 P M. — owing, 
General Lee says, to the difficulty of getting the troops in posi- 
tion. Stuart, with Jackson's corps, was then left alone in Hooker's 
front. At 6 P M. the signal was given. Anderson and Early 
moved forward at once in gallant style, driving Sedgwick across 
the Plank road in the direction of the Rappahannock. The 
approaching darkness, we are told by General Lee, prevented 
McLaws from perceiving the success of the attack, until the 
enemy began to cross the river below Banks' ford. 

When the morning of the 5th dawned, Sedgwick "had made 
good his escape" and removed his bridges. Fredericksburg was 
also evacuated. Early, with Barksdale, was left to hold our lines 
as before, while Anderson and McLaws returned to Chancellors- 
ville, which place they reached on the afternoon of the 5th in a 
violent thunder-storm. At daylight on the 6th these two divi- 
sions were ordered to assail the enemy's works in conjunction 
with Jackson's corps ; but during the storm of the night before, 
Hooker retreated over the river. 

The Confederate cavalry operations, from smallness of num- 
bers, were much circumscribed. Hampton's brigade was south 
of the James river recruiting. Jones' brigade was in the Valley 
Fitz. Lee's five regiments were divided — two operating on Gene- 
ral Lee's right, next to the Rappahannock, while the remaining 
three marched with Jackson, and afterwards were on the extreme 
left near Ely's ford. Two regiments, under \V H. F Lee, was 
all the cavalry Stoneman had to contend against. The horse 
artillery kept pace with the infantry. Stuart's report says they 
led the attack on the 3d. 

The cavalrv corps of the enemy, according to the returns of 


April 30th, had an aggregate present for duty of thirteen thou- 
sand three hundred and ninety-eight. Hooker says (Conduct of 
the War, volume I, page 136): "My cavalry force numbered 
upwards of thirteen thousand men for duty at the time the cav- 
alry left camp at Falmouth, and of this force but one brigade 
was retained for duty with the infantry." They were to cross 
the Rappahannock on the 29th, the same day as the infantry; 
one column was to move round through Culpeper and Louisa, 
to operate on the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac rail- 
road on General Lee's line of communication. This column 
was under Stoneman and Buford. Another column was to 
threaten Culpeper and Gordonsville, then to follow and join 
Stoneman. Stoneman marched to Thompson's cross-roads, and 
calling his regimental commanders together, tells them that " I 
have dropped in this region like a shell, and that I intended to 
burst it, expecting each piece or fragment to do as much harm 
and create as much terror as would result from sending the whole 
shell, and thus magnify our small force into overwhelming num- 
bers"; and he further says: "The results of this plan satisfied 
my most sanguine expections." But what does Hooker say? 
" On the 4th the cavalry column, under General Stoneman, re- 
turned. It is hardly necessary to say it accomplished nothing. 
One part of it, under Kilpatrick, crossed the Acquia and Rich- 
mond railroad, and the fact that on the 5 th the cars carried the 
Rebel wounded and our prisoners over the road to Richmond, 
will show to what extent the enemy's communications had been 
interrupted; and an examination of the instructions General 
Stoneman received, in connection with the official report of his 
operations, fully sustains me in saying that no officer ever made 
a greater mistake in construing his orders, and no one ever accom- 
plished less in so doing." 

Averell, when starting with his column, was told by Hooker 
that "in the vicinity of Culpeper, you will be likely to come 
against Fitzhugh Lee's brigade of cavalry, consisting of about 
two thousand men, which it is expected you will be able to 
disperse and destroy without delay to your advance." Averell 
marched to Culpeper Courthouse on the 30th, then to the Rap- 
idan, and says, " from prisoners taken and from contrabands, it was 
learned that at least two brigades of the enemy's cavalry were 
fleeing before us." All day May the 1st, W H. F- Lee, with 
his two regiments and one piece of artillery, gallantly disputed 
his advance, and in compliance with the orders from General 
Lee, burnt the bridge over the Rapidan and withdrew towards 
Gordonsville. He reached that place at 11 A. M. on the 2d. 
At 6.30 A. M. on the same day, Averell, who never advanced 


closer than three miles of Orange Courthouse, countermarched 
and went back to the army He arrived at 10.30 P M. on the 
night of the 2d, on the north side of Ely's ford. Averell's losses, 
by his official report, were two officers and two men wounded 
and one man killed. He numbered, according to the same report, 
thirty-four hundred sabres and six guns. 

W PI. F Lee then turned his attention to Stoneman, who was 
about Trevylian's depot in Louisa county. On May the 3d and 
4th, he pursued Wyndham's force, who represented the fragment 
of shell which was flying towards Columbia, and says he heard 
by telegrams from Richmond that the enemy were everywhere. 
On the 5th and 6th he harassed Stoneman's rear as he was return- 
ing to his army; on May the 8th he returned to Orange Court- 
house, having accomplished as much as could possibly be ex- 
pected with his small force. I leave my hearers to infer what 
Stuart would have done in the enemy's rear with ten or twelve 
thousand cavalry, only opposed by two regiments. 

And so ended the last of the Federal operations at Chancel- 
lorsville. The total losses on the Federal side was seventeen 
thousand one hundred and ninety-seven (Hooker, Conduct of 
War, volume I, page 143). Total loss on Confederate side was 
ten thousand two hundred and eighty-one. Colonel Baldwin, 
Chief of Ordnance, reported, as captured from the enemy, thir- 
teen cannon, fifteen hundred rounds of artillery ammunition, large 
lot of harness, wheels, &c, and nineteen thousand five hundred 
muskets and rifles and three hundred thousand rounds of infantry 

In an address of this sort it is impossible to do justice to the 
many splendid feats of valor performed by the troops. I must 
refer all to the official reports. They will show the difficulties 
and dangers which, under God's blessing, were surmounted by 
the valor and fortitude of our army. 

The prominent points of this contest were: Jackson's fight of 
the 2d, Stuart's of the 3d, and the operations of Early and 
Barksdale, of Anderson, McLaws and Wilcox. In his official 
report, General Lee says that "the conduct of the troops cannot 
be too highly praised. Attacking largely superior numbers in 
strongly entrenched positions, their heroic courage overcame 
every obstacle of nature and of art, and achieved a triumph most 
honorable to our arms. I commend to the Department the brave 
officers and men mentioned by their superiors for extraordinary 
darino- and merit, whose names I am unable to enumerate here; 
amono- them will be found some who have passed by a glorious 
death beyond the reach of praise, but the memory of whose 


virtues and ' devoted patriotism will ever be cherished by their 
grateful countrymen." 

On 6th May, General Hooker published his General Order No. 
49. Listen to portions of it: "The Major-General Commanding 
tenders to this army his congratulations on its achievements of 
the last seven days. In withdrawing from the south 

bank of the Rappahannock before delivering a general battle to 
our adversaries, the army has given renewed evidence of its con- 
fidence in itself and its fidelity to the principles it represents. 
Profoundly loyal and conscious of its strength, the 
Army of the Potomac will .give or decline battle whenever its 
interests or honor may demand. The events of the 

last week may swell with pride the heart of every officer and 
soldier of this army " And then in a letter to Lincoln, dated 
May 13th, 1863, Hooker says, near its close, "Is it asking too 
much to inquire your opinion of my Order No. 49? If so, do 
not answer me. Jackson is dead and Lee beats McClellan in his 
untruthful bulletins." I cannot find that Lincoln ever answered 
this question. 

Aye, my comrades, the battle of Chancellorsville is over. 
"When written history shall truly record the struggle which 
ended thus, every leaf may be dripping with the tears of grief 
and woe, but not a page will be stained with the stigma of shame." 
It will show nowhere such an example of the steady handling of 
a small force against a great one, upon plans based upon a pro- 
found and accurate judgment of the facts. Risks were assumed 
apparently desperate, with cool self-reliance and confidence in 
the army, that never faltered under all dangers and discourage- 
ments until all had been accomplished which, under the circum- 
stances, could reasonably be expected. The laurel at Chancel- 
lorsville is entwined with the cypress. Brigadier-General Paxton 
fell while leading his brigade with conspicuous courage in the 
assault of the 3d. Generals A. P Hill, Nicholls, McGowan, Heth, 
Hoke and Pender were wounded, to which must be added many 
gallant officers and privates, while many more are now "but a 
handful of dust in the land of their choice. A name in song and 
story, and Fame to shout with her trumpet voice — Dead — dead 
on the field of glory." 

Chancellorsville is inseparably connected in its glory and gloom 
with Stonewall Jackson. General Lee officially writes : "I do 
not propose to speak here of the character of this illustrious 
man, since removed from the scene of his eminent usefulness by 
the hand of an inscrutable but all-wise Providence. I neverthe- 
less desire to pay the tribute of my admiration to the matchless 
energy and skill that marked this last act of his life, forming, as 


it did, a worthy conclusion of that long series of splendid achieve- 
ments which won for him the lasting gratitude and love of his 
country." In my reading of history, Jackson's purely military 
genius resembled more closely Caesar's and Napoleon's. Like 
the latter, his success must be attributed to the rapid audacity of 
his movements, and to his masterly control of the confidence and 
will of his men. He had the daring, temper and fiery spirit of 
Caesar in battle. Caesar fell at the base of Pompey's statue, which 
had been restored by his magnanimity, pierced by twenty-three 
wounds at the hands of those he had done most for. Jackson 
fell at the hands of those who would have cheerfully joined their 
comrades upon many a valley, plain and mountain slope in the 
dismal, silent bivouacs, if his life could have been spared. Like 
the little child at the Chandler house where Jackson breathed 
his last, who "wished that God would let her die in his stead, 
for then only her mother would cry; but if Jackson died, all the 
people of the country would cry." Sixteen years have passed. 
God grant that the little speaker then, the woman now, if alive, 
who wanted to die for Jackson, is beloved and happy ! The char- 
acter of Jackson, while being likened to the unswerving justice 
of an Aristides, had yet the grand virtues of a Cato. Like the 
aurora borealis at an autumn's evening close, it will brightly 
shine in the sky of the future. For he was like Enoch, "a type 
of perfected humanity — a man raised to heaven by pleasing God, 
while angels fell to earth by transgression." Immortal Jackson! 
though like leaves of autumn thy dead have lain, the — 

" Southern heart Is their funeral urn, 
The Southern slogan their requiem stern." 

Sacred Chancellorsville ! The sun had gone down behind the 
hills and the wind behind the clouds. It was — 

"A night of storms, but not like those. 

That sweep the mountain's breast; 
Not like the hurricane that blows 

To break the ocean's rest. 
It lightened, 'twas the sheeted flash 

From serried ranks that Hew ; 
It thundered, 'twas the cannon's crash, 

That tore the forest through. 
Oh ! night of horrors, thou didst see 

With all thy starry eyes, 
The holocaust of victory, 

A nation's sacriliee. 


" Lo, prostrate on the field of strife, 

The noble warrior fell, 
Enriching with a martyr's life 

The land he loved so well. 
But round the martyred hero's form 

A living rampart rose 
To shield him from the hail and storm 

Of his retreating foes. 
And angels from the King of kings, 

On holiest mission sped 
To weave a canopy of wings 

Around his sainted head." 

Upon the occasion of Robert E. Lee's confirmation as a mem- 
ber of the church, Bishop Johns said to him: "If you will be 
as faithful a soldier of the cross as you have been of your 
country, when your warfare is over I shall covet your crown." 

Rest on Stonewall — faithful to cross and country, your warfare 
is over, your crown is won. 

Let us weep in darkness, but not weep for him — 

"Not for him who ascended Fame's ladder so high, 
From the round at the top, he stepped off to the sky." 

Deep in the affections of the Army of Northern Virginia, Jack- 
son is buried. The mountains of old Rockbridge are the senti- 
nels upon the watchtower. 

Then striking the harp of his country, his soldier angels being 
the choir, may this Society join me as I sing — 

"Go sleep, with the sunshine of fame on thy slumbers, 
'Till waked by some hand less unworthy than mine." 

The following officers were unanimously elected : 

President — General W. H. F Lee. 

Vice-Presidents — Generals Robert Ransom, Harry Heth, A. L. 
Long, William Terry, Captain D. B. McCorkle, General Bradley 
T. Johnson. 

Treasurer — Major Robert Stiles. 

Secretaries — Sergeants George L. Christian and Leroy S. Ed- 

Executive Committee — Colonel Thomas H. Carter, Majors T. 
A. Brander and Walter K. Martin, Private Carlton McCarthy, 
General T. M. Logan. 



was spread in Levy's hall in elegant style. After the delicacies 
of the season had been heartily enjoyed, Judge George L. Chris- 
tian announced the regular toasts, which were responded to as 
follows : 

1. The Army of Northern Virginia — Colonel C. S. Venable. 

2. The Infantry — Colonel John M. Patton. 

3. The Artillery — D. Gardner Tyler. 

4. The Cavalry — James N. Dunlop, of the Fourth Virginia 

5. The Women of the South — Judge Theo. S. Garnett. 

6. The Dead — Rev. Dr. J. E. Edwards. 

The speeches generally were good, but some of them were 
rare gems. Then followed a number of volunteer toasts and 
responses, and a good time generally. The whole occasion was 
a grand success. 


A full and complete roster of the Army of Northern Virginia 
would involve an amount of work which the compiler has not 
had time to bestow, and occupy more pages than the design of 
this volume would allow. Instead, therefore, of attempting at 
this time a full roster from the beginning to the dissolution of 
our grand old army, I shall reserve that as a task upon which I 
shall patiently work until it is brought as near perfection as it is 
now possible to make it, and shall for the present content myself 
with the following carefully prepared roster of the army at several 
of the most important periods of its history: 


M. E. LEE, General Commanding. 

June 26th to July 2d, 1S62. 

1.— LONGSTREET'S DIVISION— General James Longstreet. 

First Brigade — General J. L. Kemper. 
17th Virginia regiment, Colonel M. D. Corse. 
24th " Lt. Col. Hairston. 

1st " Captain Norton. 

11th " Captain Otey. 

Tth " Colonel W. T. Patton. 

Second Brigade — General R. H. Anderson. 
Palmetto sharpshooters, Colonel Jenkins. 
2d South Carolina Rifles, Colonel Moore. 
5th South Carolina regiment, Colonel Giles. 
6th " Col. Bratton. 

Third Brigade — General George E. Pickett. 

8th Virginia regiment, Colonel Eppa Hunton. 
18th " Col. R. E. Withers. 

19th " Colonel -J. B. Strange. 

28th " Colonel R. C. Allen. 

56th " Colonel W. D. Stuart. 

Fourth Brigade— General C. M. Wilcox. 
10th Alabama regiment, Col. 1. 1. Woodward. 
Uth " Lt. Col. S. T. Hale. 

Sth " Lt. Col. Royston. 

9th " Major Williams. 

Fifth Brigade— General R. A. Pryor. 

3d Virginia regiment, Col. Joseph Mayo, Jr. 

2d Florida regiment, Colonel E. A. Perry. 
14th Alabama regiment, Colonel Bayne. 
14th Louisiana regiment, Colonel Z. York. 
Louisiana Zouave battalion, Lt. Col. Coppens. 

Sixth Brigade — General W. S. Peatherston. 

2d Mississippi battalion, Lt. Col. Taylor. 
12th Mississippi regiment, Major Lilly. 
19th " Major Mullins. 

£.— HILL'S LIGHT DIVISION— General A. P. Hill. 

First Brigade — General J. R. Anderson. 
35th Georgia regiment, Colonel E. L. Thomas. 
14th " Lt. Col. Pulsom. 

3d Louisiana regiment, Lt. Col. Pendleton. 
49th Georgia regiment, Colonel A. J. Lane. 
45th " Colonel P. Hardeman. 

Second Brigade — General Maxey Gregg. 
14th South Carolina reg't, Col. S. McGowan. 

1st South Carolina rifles, Colonel Marshall. 

1st South Carolina reg't, Col. D. H. Hamilton. 
12th " Col. Dixon Barnes. 

13th " Col. O. E. Edwards. 

Third Brigade— General C. W. Field. 
55th Virginia regiment, Col. Francis Mallory. 
60th " Colonel W. E. Starke. 

40th Virginia reg't, Col. J. M. Brockenborough. 
47th Virginia regiment, Col. Robert M. Mayo. 
2d Virginia battalion, Lt. Col. Johnston. 

Fourth Brigade — General W. D. Pender. 
16th N. C. regiment, Lt. Col. John S.McElroy. 
38th " Col. William J. Hoke. 

34th " Col. Richard H. Riddict. 

22d " Colonel James Connor. 

10th " Col. J. A. J. Bradford. 

2d Arkansas battalion, Major Bronaugh. 



Fifth Brigade— General J. J. Archer. 
19th Georgia regiment, Lt. Col. Johnston. 

1st Tennessee regiment, Lt. Col. Shackleford. 

5th Alabama battalion, Captain Vandergraff. 

7th Tennessee regiment, Colonel Goodner. 
14th " Col. W. A. Forbes. 

Sixth Brigadt — General L. O'B. Branch. 
28th N. C. regiment, Colonel J. H. Lane. 
Tth " Lt. Col. R. P. Campbell. 

37th " Col. Charles C. Lee. 

33d " Lt, Col. R. L. Hoke. 

18th " Col. Robert H. Cowan. 

3.— HILL'S DIVISION— General D. H. Hill. 

First Brigade— General R. E. Rodes. 

3d Alabama regiment, Major Sands. 

5th " Colonel C. Pegues. 

6th " Colonel J. B. Gordon. 

12th " Colonel S. B. Pickens. 

26th " Colonel E. A. O'Neal. 

Second Brigade— GeaeraX Samuel Garland. 

5th N. C. regiment, Colonel D. K. McCrae. 
12th " Colonel Wade. 

13th " Colonel A. M. Scales. " Colonel Alfred Iverson. 

23d " Colonel Daniel Christie. 

Third Brigade— General G. B. Anderson. 

Fourth Brigade— General A. H. Colquitt. 

2d N. C. regiment, Colonel C. C. Tew. 

6th Georgia regiment, Lt. Col. Newton. 

4th " Colonel Jong A. Young. 


14th " Lt. Col. Johnston. 

23d " Colonel D. F. Best. 

30th " Col. Francis M. Parker. 

27th " Colonel L. B. Smith. 

13th Alabama reg't, Colonel B. D. Frv. 

Fifth Brigade— General R. S. Ripley. 

1st N. C. regiment, Colonel Stokes. 

3d " Colonel Gaston Meares. 

44th Georgia regiment, Colonel Smith. 
48th " Colonel Gibson. 

4.— MAGRUDER'S DIVISION— General J. B. Magruder. 

First Brigade — General Paul J. Semmes. 
10th Georgia regiment, Colonel Cumming. 
32d Virginia regiment, Lt. Col. Willis. 
5th Louisiana regiment, Colonel Hunt. 
15th Virginia regiment, Colonel T. P. August. 
10th Louisiana regiment, Lt. Col. Wagaman. 
53d Georgia regiment. 

Third Brigade— General R. Griffith. 
13th Mississippi regiment, Colonel Barksdale. 
17th " Colonel Holder. 

18th " Colonel Griffin. 

21st " Col. Humphries. 

Second Brigade — General J. B. Kershaw. 
2d South Carolina reg't, Colonel Kennedy. 
3d " Colonel Nance. 

8th " Colonel Ilenagan. 

7th " Colonel Aiken. 

Fourth Brigade — General Howell Cobb. 
16th Georgia regiment, Col. Goode Bryan. 
Cobb's Georgia legion, Col. T. R. R. Cobb. 
24th Georgia regiment. Col. Root. MeMillen. 
2d Louisiana regiment, Colonel Norwood. 
15th N. C. regiment, Colonel Daw. 

Fifth Brigade— General Robert Toombs. 

Sixth Brigade— Colonel G. T. Anderson. 

2d Georgia regiment, Colonel Bute. 

7th Georgia regiment, Major B. W. Hoyle. 

15th '• Colonel Mcintosh. 

8th " Colonel Lamar. 

17th " Colonel Benning. 

11th " Lt. Col. Luffman. 

20th " Colonel Cumming. 

9th " Colonel Turnipsced. 

3d " Lt. Col. White. 

1st Georgia regulars. Colonel Magill. 

5.— HUGER'S DIVISION— General Benjamin Huger. 

First Brigade— General William Mahono. 
41st Virginia regiment, Lt. Col. Parham. 
49th " Colonel Win. Smith. 

6th " Col. Geo. T. Kodgers 

]2th " Col. D. A. Weisigei. 

16th '• Lt. Col. Ham. 

Second Brigade— General L. A. Annistead. 

»th Virginia regiment, Colonel J. C. Owens. 
•Mid " Col. II. B. Tomlln. 

fith Virginia battalion, Major \V. It. Foster. 
141 h Virginia reg'l, Colonel Hodges. " Colonel Edmonds, 

hlth " Lt. col. J. B. Magruder. 

Third Brigade— General A. K. Wright. 
4th Georgia regiment. Colonel George Doles. 
1st Louisiana regiment, Lt. Col. Shivers. 
1st Georgia regiment, Col.Cli i*. IT. Olnistcad 
2-'d " Colonel K. K. Jones. 

3d " Major J. K. SI urges. 



6.— WHITING'S DIVISION— General W H. C. Whiting. 

First Lrinade— General J. B. Hood. 

5th Texas regiment, Colonel J. B. Robertson. 

4th " Colonel John Marshall. 

1st " Colonel A. T. Rainey. 

18th " Lt. Col. S. L. Ruff. 

Hampton's legion, Lt. Col. M. \V Gary. 

Second Brigade — Colonel E. M. Law. 
6th >'. C. regiment, Colonel R. F. Webb. 
4th Alabama regiment, Lt. Col. P. Bowles, 
lltli Mississippi regiment, Col. P. F. Liddell. 
2d " Colonel Stone. 


First Brigade— General C. S. Winder. 

2d Virginia regiment, Colonel J. W. Allen. 

5th " Col. W. H. S. Baylor. 

SSth " Colonel Neff. 

27th " Colonel Grigsby. 

4th " Colonel Ronald. 

Irish battalion, Captain Lee. 

Second Brigade — Lientenant-Colonel R. H. 

21st Virginia regiment, Captain Moseley. 
42d " Lt. Col. Martin. 

4Sth " Lt. Col. Garnett. 

Third Brigade— Colonel L. W. Fulkerson. 
10th Virginia regiment, Col. E. T. H. Warren. 
37th " Major Williams. 

23d " Captain A. V Scott. 

1st Maryland regiment, Col. B. T. Johnson. 

Fourth Brigade— General A. R. Lawton. 
13th Georgia regiment, Colonel Douglas. 
26th " Col. W. H. Atkinson. 

60th " Col. Wm. H. Stiles. 

61st " Col. John H. Lamar. 

3Sth " Lt. Col. Pair. 

31st " Colonel C. A. Evans. 

8.—E WELL'S DIVISION— General E. S. Ewell. 

First Brigade— General A. Elz^y. 
13th Virginia regiment, Col. J. A. Walker. 
25th •' Lt. Col. Higinbotham. 

31st " Col. J. S. Hoffman. 

44th " Lt. Col. Xorvell Cobb. 

52(1 " Lt. Col. J. H. Skinner. 

58th " Colonel Board. 

12th Georgia regiment, Lt. Col. Willis. 

Second Brigade— Colonel J. E. Seymour. 
6th Louisiana regiment, Colonel Seymour. 


8th " 

9th " 

13th Special battalion. 

Lt. Col. D. B. Penn. 
Col. H. B. Kelley. 
Col. L. A. Stafford. 

Third Brigade— General Trimble. 
15th Alabama regiment, Colonel Canty. 
16th Mississippi regiment. Colonel C. Posey. 
21st Georgia regiment, Major T. Hooper. 
21st X. C. regiment, Lt. Col. W. W. Kirkland. 1 
1st N. C. battalion, Lt. Col. Williams. | 

0.— HOLMES' DIVISION— General Holmes. 

First lirir/ade— General J G. Walker. 

Second Brigade — General R. Ransom, Jr. 

3d Arkansas regiment, Col. Van H. Manning. 

25th N. C. regiment, Colonel Rutledge. 

30th Virginia regiment, Col. A. T. Harrison. 

24lh " Colonel Clarke. 

27th N. C. regiment, Colonel John R. Cooke. 

35th " Colonel Ransom. 

46th X. C. regiment. Colonel E. D. Hall. 

49th " Colonel S. D. Ramseur. 

2d Georgia battalion, Major Hardeman. 

26tti " Colonel Vance. 

48th N. C. regiment, Colonel R. C. Hill. 

Third Brigade — Colonel Junius Daniel. 
45th N. C. regiment, Lt. Col. .Morehead. 
43d " Colonel Keenan. 

50th " Colonel Craton. 

Fourth Brigade— General H. A. Wise. 
26th Virginia regiment, Colonel P. R. Page. 
46th " Col. R. T. W Duke. 

34th " Colonel J. II. Ware. 

JO.— CAVALRY DIVISION— Brigadier-General J. E. B. Stuart. 

1st Virginia, Colonel Fitzhugh Lee. 
3d '■ Colonel T. F. Guide. 

4th " Captain Chamberlayne. 
5th " Colonel T. L. Rosser. 

9th " Colonel W H. F. Lee. 

IWh Virginia, Colonel J. Lucius Davis. 
Col.b legion, Colonel T. R. R. Colli). 
Jell'. Davis lee-ion, Lt. Col. W. K. Martin. 
1st Xortli Carolina, Colonel L. S. Baker. 




Reserve Artillery— Brigadier-General W. X Pendleton. 

Richardson's battalion— Maj. Chas. Richard- 
Jones' battalion— Maj. Hilary P. Jones. 

Cutts' battalion— Lieutenant-Colonel Cutts. 
1st Virginia regiment of artillery— Colonel J. 
Thompson Brown. 

Artillery attached to the Brigades of each Division. 

Longstreet's division — Major J. Walton, chief 

of artillery. 
A. P. Hill's division— Lt. Col. L. M. Coleman, 

acting chief of artillery. 
D. H. Hill's division — Major Pierson, chief of 

Magruder's division— Lt. Col. S. D. Lee, chief 

of artillery. 

Huger's division. 

Whiting's division. 

Jackson's division— Col. S. Crutchfleld, chief 

of artillery. 
Ewell's division — Maj. Alfred Courtney, chief 

of 'artillery. 
Holmes' division— Col. James Deshler, chief 

of artillery. 



JUNE ist, 1863. 

JR. E. LEE, General Commanding. 

FIRST CORPS — Lieutenant-General James Loxgstreet. 

McLAWS' DIVISION— Mnjor-General L. McLaws. 

Kershaw's "brigade— Brig. Gen. J. B. Kershaw. 
15tli S. C. regiment, Col. W. D. De Saussure. 
8th " Col. J. W. Memminger. 

2rt " Col. John D. Kennedy. 

3d " Col. James D. Nance. 

7th " Col. D. Wyatt Aiken. 

3d (James') battalion S. C. Infantry, Lt. Col. 
R. C. Rice. 

Benning's brigade — Brig. Gen. H. L. Benning. 
50th Georgia regiment, Col. W. R. Manning. 
51st " Col. W. M. Slaughter. 

53d " Col. James P. Sims. 

10th '• Lt. Col. J. B. Weems. 

Barksdale's brigade— Brigadier-General ffm. 

13th Mississippi regiment, Col. J. W. Carter. 
17th " Col. W. D. Holder. 

18th " Col. T. M. Griffin. 

21st Mississippi reg't, Col. B. G. Humphreys. 

Woiford's brigade— Brig. Gen. W. T. Wofford. 
ISt ji Georgia regiment, Major E. Griftis. 
Phillip's Georgia legion, Col. W. M. Phillips. 
24th Georgia regiment, Col. Rob't .McMillan. 
16th " Col. Goode Bryan. 

Cobb's Georgia legion, Lt. Col. L. D. Glewn. 

PICKETT'S DIVISION— Major-General George E. Pickett. 

Garnett'g brigade — Brig. Gen. R. B. Garnett. 

A rmistead's brigade — Brigadier-General 

8th Virginia regiment, Colonel Eppa Hunton. 

L. A. Armistead. 

18th " Colonel R. E. Withers. 

9th Virginia regiment, Lt. Col. J. S. Gilliam. 

19th " Colonel Henry Gantt. 

14th " Colonel J. G. Hodges. 

2Sth " Colonel R. C. Allen. 

.38 th " Col. E. C. Edmonds. 

56th " Colonel W D. Stuart. 

53d " Col. John Grammer. 

57th " Col. J. B. Magruder. 

Kemper's brigade — Brig. Gen. J. L. Kemper. 

Toombs' brigade,— Brig. Gen. R. Toombs. 

1st Virginia regiment, Col. L. B. Williams, Jr. 

2d Georgia regiment, Colonel E. M. Butt. 

3d " Col. Joseph Mayo, Jr. 

15th " Col. E. M. DuBose. 

7th " Colonel W. T. Patton. 

17th " Col. W. C. Hodges. 

11th " Col. David Punstin. 

20th " Col. J. B. Cummings 

24th " Colonel W. R. Terry. 

Corse's brigade— Bug. Gen. M. D. Corse. 
15th Virginia regiment, Col. T. P. August. 
17th " Col. Morton M'arye. 

30th " Col. A. T. Harrison. 

32d " Col. E. B. Montague. 

HOOD'S DIVISION— Ma; or-General J. B. Hood. 

Robertson's brigade — Brigadier-General J. B. 

1st Texas regiment, Colonel A. T. Rainey. ■ 
4th " Colonel J. C. G. Key. 

5th " Colonel R. M. Powell. 

3d Arkansas reg't, Col. Van H. Manning. 

Anderson's brigade— Brigadier-General 

G. T. Anderson. 

10th Georgia ball alien, Major J. E. Rylander. 

7th Georgia regiment, Colonel W. M. While. 

8th " I, t. Col. J. R. Towers. 

9th " Colonel B. P. Beck. 

11th " Colonel P. II. Little. 

Law's brigade— Brig. Gen. E. M. Law. 
4th Alabama regiment, Col. P. A. Bowles. 
44th " Col. W. H. Perry. 

15th " Col. Jamvs Canty. 

47th " Col. J. W. Jackson. 

4Sth " Col. J. P. Shepherd. 

Jnil-ins' brigade— Brig. Gen. M. Jenkins. 
2d S. C. rides. Colonel Thomas Thompson. 
1st S. C. regiment, Lt. Col. David Livingston, 
fitli " Colonel A. Coward. 

6th •' Colonel John Hraltou. 

Hampton's legion, Colonel M. \V. Gary. 



SECOND CORPS— Lieutenant-General R. S. Ewell. 
EAELY'S DIVISION— Major-General J. A. Early. 

Hays' brigade— Brig. Gen. H. T. Hays. 
5th Louisiana regiment, Col. Henry Forno. 
6th " Col. Wm. Monaghan. 

7th " Col. D. B. Penn. 

8th " Col. Henry B. Kelley. 

9th " Col. A. L. Stafford. 

Gordon's brigade— Brig. Gen. J. B. Gordon. 
18th Georgia regiment, Col. J. M. Smith. 
26th " Col. E. N. Atkinson. 

31st " Col. C. A. Evans. 

38th " Major J.D.Mathews. 

60th " Colonel W. H. Stiles. 

61st " Colonel J. H. Lamar. 

Smith's brigade — Brig. Gen. William Smith. 
13th Virginia regiment, Col. J. E. B. Terrill. 
31st " Col. John S. Hoffman. 

49th " Colonel Gibson. 

52d " Colonel Skinner. 

58th " Colonel P. H. Board. 

Hoke's brigade— Col. J. E. Avery commanding 
(Gen. R. P. Hoke being absent, wounded). 

6th N. C. regiment, Colonel J. E. Avery. 
21st " Colonel W. W. Kirkland. 

54th " Col. J. C. T. McDowell. 

57th " Colonel A. C. Godwin. 

1st N. C. battalion, Major R. H. Wharton. 

JOHNSON'S DIVISION— Major-General Ed. Johnson. 

Steuart's brigade— Brig. Gen. Geo. H. Steuart. 

" Stonewall brigade " — Brigadier-General 

10th Virginia regiment, Col. E. T. H. Warren. 

James A. Walker. 

23d " Col. A. G. Taliaferro. 

4th Virginia regiment, Col. Chas. A. Ronald. 

37th " Col. T. V. Williams. 

5th " Col. J. H. S. Funk. 

1st N. C. regiment, Colonel J. A. McDowell. 

27th " Col.J.K.Edmondson 

3d " Lt. Col. Thurston. 

33d Virginia reg't, Col. F. W. M. Holliday. 

2d Virginia regiment, Col. J. Q. A. Nadens- 


John M. Jones' brigade— Brigadier-General 

Xicholls' brigade— Col. J. M. Williams com- 

John M. Jones. 

manding (Gen. F. T. Nicholls being absent, 

21st Virginia regiment, Captain Mosely. 


42d " Lt. Col. Withers. 

1st Louisiana regiment, Col. W. R. Shivers. 

44th " Captain Buckner. 

2d " Col. J. M.Williams. 

48th " Colonel T. S. Garnett. 

loth " Col. E. Waggaman. 

50th " Colonel Vandeventer. 

14th " Colonel Z. York. 

15th " Col. Ed. Pendleton. 

KODES' DIVISION"— Ma jor-General R. E. Eodes. 

Daniel's brigade — Brig. Gen. Junius Daniel. 
32d N. C. regiment, Colonel E. C. Brabble. 
43d " Col. Thomas H. Keenan. 

45th " Lt. Col. Samuel H. Boyd. 

53d " Colonel W. A. Owens. 

2d N. C. battalion, Lt. Col. H. S. Andrews. 

Boles' brigade— Brig. Gen. George Doles. 
4th Georgia regiment, Lt. Col. D. R. E. Winn. 
12th " Col. Edward Willis. 

21st " Col. John T. Mercer. 

44th " Col. S. P. Lumpkin. 

Iverson's brigade— Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson. 

5th N. C. regiment, Captain S. B. West. 
12th " Lt. Col. W. S. Davis. 

20th " Lt. Col. N. Slough. 

23d " Colonel D. H. Christie. 

namseur's brigade— Brig. Gen. S. D. Ramseur. 

2d N. C. regiment. Major E. W. Hurt. 

4th " Coionel Bryan Grimes. 

14th " Colonel R. T. Bennett. 

30th " Colonel F. M. Parker. 

Rodes' brigade— Colonel E. A. O'Neal. 

3d Alabama regiment, Colonel C. A. Battle. 

5th " Colonel J. M. Hall. 

6th " Col. J. N. Lightfoot. 

l'2th " Colonel S.B.Pickens. 

26th Alabama reg't, Lt. Col. J. C. Goodgame. 



THIRD CORPS— Lieutenant-General A. P Hill. 
ANDERSON'S DIVISION— Major-General R. H. Anderson. 

Wilcox's brigade— Brig. Gen. C. M. Wilcox. 

8th Alabama regiment, Col. T. L. Boyster. 

9th " Colonel S. Henry. 

10th " Colonel W.H.Forney 

11th " Col. J. C. C. Saunders 

14th " Col. L. P. Pinkhard. 

'Mahone's brigade — Brig. Gen. Wm. Mahone. 
6th Virginia regiment, Col. G. T. Rogers. 
12th " Col. D. A. Weisiger. 

16th " Lt. Col. Jos. H. Ham. 

41st " Col. W. A. Parham. 

61st " Col. V. D. Groner. 

Posey's brigade — Brig. Gen. Canot Posey. 
46th Mississippi regiment, Col. Joseph Jayne. 
16th " Col. Sam 1 E. Baker 

19th " Col. John Mullins. 

12th " Col. W. H. Taylor. 

Wright's brigade—Brig. Gen. A. R. Wright. 

2d Georgia battalion, Major G. W. Ross. 

3d Georgia regiment, Colonel E. J. Walker. 
22d " Colonel R. H. Jones. 

4Sth " Col. William Gibson. 

Perry's briqade — Brig. Gen. E. A. Perry. 
2d Florida regiment, Lt. Col. S. G. Pyles. 
5th " Colonel J. C. Hately. 

Sth " Colonel David Long. 

HETH'S DIVISION— Major-General H. Heth. 

Pettigreiv's brigade — Brig. Gen. Pettigrew. 
42d N. C. regiment, Colonel George C. Gibbs. 
11th " Col. Collett Leventhorpe. 

26th " Colonel John R. Lane. 

44th " Col. Thomas Singletary. 

4Tth " Col. George H. Faribault. 

52d " Colonel J. K. Marshall. 

lTth " Col. William F. Martin. 

Field's brigade— Brigadier-General Field. 
S5th Virginia regiment, Colonel Christian. 
4Tth " Col. Robert M. Mayo. 

2d Virginia battalion, Lt. Col. Johnson. 
40th Virginia regiment, Col. J. M. Brocken- 

Davis' brigade — Brig. Gen. J. R. Davis. 

2d Mississippi regiment, Col. J. M. Stone. 
11th " Col. F. M. Green. 

26th " Col. A. E. Reynolds. 

42d " Col. Hugh R. Miller. 

55th N. C. regiment, Col. John K. Connally. 

1st Confederate battalion. 

Archer's brigade — Brig. Gen. J. J. Archer. 

1st Tennessee regiment, Lt. Col. George. 

7tti " Lt. Col. Fite. 

14th " col. Wm. McComb 

13th Alabama regiment, Col. B. D. Fry. 

5th Alabama battalion, Captain Stewart. 

Cooke's brigade — Brig. Gen. J. R. Cooke. 
15th N. C. regiment, Colonel William McRae. 
27th " Col. John A. Gilmer, Jr. 

46th " Colonel E. D. Hall. 

48th " Colonel Robert C. Hall. 

PENDER'S DIVISION— Major-General W D. Pender. 

McGoioan's brigade — Brig. Gen. S. McGowan. 

1st S. C. regiment, Col. D. H. Hamilton. 
12th " Colonel C. Jones. 

13th " Colonel O. E. Edwards. 

14th " Colonel Abner Perrin. 

1st South Carolina rifles, Col. F. E. Harrison. 

Lane's brigade — Brig. Gen. J. H. Lane. 
7th N. C. regiment, Col. E. G. Haywood. 
18th " Colonel T. J. Perdie. 

28th " Colonel S. D. Lowe. 

33d " Colonel C. M. Avery. 

37th " Colonel W. M. Barbour. 

Thomas' brigade — Brig. Gen. E. L. Thomas. 
14th Georgia regiment, Col. R. W. Folsom. 
35th " Captain John Duke. 

45th " Lieut. W. L. Grice. 

49th " Major S. T. Player. 

Scales' brigade— Brig. Gen. A. M. Scales. 
13th N. C. regiment, Col. Joseph H. Hyman. 
16th " Col. J. S. McElroy. 

22d " Colonel James Conner. 

34th " Col. W. L. J. Lawrence. 

3Sth " Colonel W. J. Hoke. 



ARTILLERY CORPS— Brigadier-General W N. Pendleton. 
FIRST CORPS— Colonel J. B. Walton. 


Col. H. C. Cabell., 
Major Hamilton., 

6 rifles ; 12 Napoleons. 
Major Henry 

9 rifles ; 5 Naps.; 2 Hows. 

Major Dearing \ 

Major Reed j 

5 rifles; 11 Naps.; 2 Hows. 






Col. E. P. Alexander ) 

Major Huger f 

11 rifles; 6 Naps.; 4 Hows. 
Major Estileman 

8 Napoleons ; 2 Hows. 








SECOND CORPS— Colonel S. Crutchfield. 





Lt. Col. Thos. H. Carter 





Maj. Carter M. Braxton 




7 rifles; 6 Naps.; 2 Hows. 


6 rifles ; 8 Naps.; 4 Hows. 

Lt. Col. H. P. Jones 



■ ) 






4 rifles ; 8 Naps.; 2 Hows. 


11 rifles ; 4 Naps.; 4 Hows. 






10 rifles ; 6 Napoleons. 


THIRD CORPS— Colonel R. Lindsay Walker. 


Major D. G. Mcintosh ) 

Major W. tf. Poague / 

10 rifles ; 6 Napoleons. 

Lt. Col. Garnett ) 

Major Richardson J 

11 rifles ; 4 Naps.; 2 Hows. 
Major Cutshaw 

2 rifles ; 5 Naps.; T Hows. 








Major Willie J. Pegram 

8 rifles ; 9 Naps.; 2 Hows. 

Lt. Col. Cntts 1 

Major Lane J 

10 rifles ; 3 Naps.; 4 Hows. 












Summary of Artillery [exclusive of Horse Artillery). 

Artillery of First corps. . . 
Artillery of Second corps 
Artillery of Third corps.. 




































CAVALRY DIVISION— Major-General J. E. B. Stuart. 

Fitz. Lee's brigade — Brig. Gen. Fitz. 


W. H. F. Lee's brigade — Brigadier-General 

1st Virginia, Colonel James H. Drake 

W. H. F. Lee. 

2d " Colonel T. T. Munford. 

9th Virginia, Colonel R. L. T. Beale. 

3d " Colonel Owen. 

13th " Colonel J. R. Chambliss. 

4th " Colonel W C. Wickham 

10th " Colonel J. Lucius Davis. 

5th " Colonel T. L. Rosser. 

2d North Carolina, Colonel Sol. Williams. 

Robertson's brigade — Brigadier-General J. 
B. Robertson. 
63d North Carolina, Colonel Evans. 
59th " Lt. Col. Cantwell. 

14th Virginia, Colonel James Cochran. 
15th " Major Collins. 

Jones' brigade — Brig. Gen. W. E. Jones. 
11th Virginia, Colonel L. L. Lomax. 
7th ■' Lt. Col. Thomas Marshall. 
12th " Colonel A. W. Harman. 
White's battalion, Lt. Col. E. V. White. 
Brown's battalion, Major Brown. 
6th Virginia, Major C. E. Flournoy. 

Hampton's brigade — Brigadier-General Wade 

5th North Carolina, Colonel James B. Gordon. 
1st " Colonel L. S. Baker. 

Cobb legion, Colonel P. B. M. Young. 
Phillips legion, Lt. Col. J. C. Phillips. 
2d South Carolina, Colonel M. C. Butler. 
Jeff Davis legion, Lt. Col. J. F. Warring. 
1-jt South Carolina, Colonel John S. Black. 

HORSE ARTILLERY— Major R. F. Beckham. 

Hart's battery. 
Chew's battery. 
McGregor's battery. 

Moorman's battery. 
Breathed's battery. 





The following figures are very carefully compiled from "field 
returns," official reports, etc., and are believed to be as nearly 
accurate as it is now possible to make them. 

General Lee said, in a letter to General Early written after the 
war: " It will be difficult to get the world to understand the odds 
against which we fought," and it is not surprising that Northern 
writers have either ignored or attempted to explain away these 
unpalatable figures. But the stubborn facts remain that the 
Federal Government had a white population of more than 
20,000,000 from which to draw its soldiers; that the whole world 
was its recruiting ground, and that it drew very largely on the 
negro population of the South; that the Confederacy had only a 
nominal population of 7,000,000 of whites, while the actual white 
population upon which it depended to recruit its armies was 
under 5,000,000; and that from the beginning we fought against 
fearful odds, which gradually increased until the close. 

I have space for only the aggregates of the numbers of the 
opposing armies, but hold myself prepared to give the details by 
which I arrive at my results and to verify and prove the accuracy 
of the figures given. 

General Lee had effectives present — 

Infantry 75,054 

Cavalry 2,500 

Artillery 2,500 

Total 80,054 

General McClellan had present at the beginning of these battles 
a total effective force of all arms of at least 105,000 men. 




Jackson's three divisions , 17,309 

Long-street's three divisions 16,0.01 

Anderson's division 6,111 

Drayton's and Evans' brigades 4,600 

Total infantrv 44,077 

Cavalry ~... 2,500 

Artillery 2,500 

Total of all amis 49,077 


Colonel W H. Taylor (pp. 62-65, "Four Years With Lee") 
has shown conclusively from the official figures that General 
Pope had "near fifty thousand men" before receiving any rein- 
forcements from General McClellan, and that from first to last 
there were in front of Washington, to resist General Lee's ad- 
vance, not less than one hundred and twenty thousand men. 

"General Pope puts his strength on the 1st of September, at 
Centreville, after the fighting was over, at sixty thousand men. 
His losses in killed and wounded were very heavy, but his miss- 
ing must have been enormous to account for this difference." 


General Lee told the writer not long before his death that he 
fought this battle "with less than forty tJwusand men." 

The official reports, as cited by Colonel Taylor, show his 
strength to have been as follows: 

Longstreet's command 6.262 

Jackson's command 5,000 

D. H. Hill's division 3,000 

R. H. Anderson's division 3,500 

A. P, Hill's division 3,400 

McLaws' division 2,893 

J. G. Walker's division 3,200 

Total effective infantry 27,255 

Cavalry and artillery 8,000 

Total of all arms. 


General Lee had with him when the battle began on the after- 
noon of the 1 6th of September, 1862, less than eighteen thousand 
men ; and on the left the three corps of Hooker, Mansfield and 


rnncr ( m aking an aggregate of 40,000 men, not counting two 
divisions of Franklin's corps sent to the rescue late in the day) 
were completely shattered as they beat in vain against Jackson, 
who, with a force of less than fourteen tlioitsand in all, " stood 
like a stone wall" against every assault. 

m clellan's strength. 

According to his own report, General McClellan had in action 
on the same field eighty-seven thousand one Iwndrcd and sixty-four 
of all arms. 


The "field returns" show that General Lee had, on the 10th 
of December, present for duty, of all arms, 78,228, and on the 
20th of December, 75,524. But less than twenty thousand of 
these were actually engaged; this being unquestionably the 
easiest victory which the Army of Northern Virginia ever won. 

burnside's strength. 

General Burnside states (Report on the Conduct of the War, 
Part I, page 656) that he had on the south side of the river and 
in action one hundred thousand men; but this does not include 
his reserves or the men who manned his powerful artillery on 
Stafford heights north of the river, which swelled his force to at 
least 113,000. 

MAY 1-G, 1863. 

When these battles opened (and he received no reinforcements 
until they were over) General Lee's strength of effectives was, 
according to the field returns, as follows : 

Anderson's and McLaws' divisions \-\tw 

Jackson's command <;Y>!)9 

Cavalry • " !«•>] 

Reserve artillery (parked 111 rear; 


Total of all arms 

. j ^f^H from this number Hampton's 
But there should be deducted fro. ^.^ ^ (which \ vcrc 

and Jones' brigades of caw - • ^ r ^ a „ abscnt and not tjc _ 
borne on the "field return, an b 



ipating in any of these operations, because they belonged to the 
cavalry division), and this would give General Lee's actual force 
at the beginning of the campaign as 53,303. 

hooker's strength. 

The compiler has before him, as he writes, the "field return" 
of General Hooker's army for April 30th, 1863, and the aggre- 
gate " present for duty" is 130,260 enlisted men, and 138,378 
officers and men, with a grand aggregate of 157,990 "present." 
But the " present for duty eind equipped" (which is explained to 
mean "only those who are actually available for the line of battle 
at the date of the report") is given as 133,708. 


General Early and Colonel \V H. Taylor have shown con- 
clusively by citation of official figures in discussions in the 
Southern Historical Society Papers that General Lee had at 
Gettysburg — 

Infantry 48,900 

Cavalrv 6.000 

Artillery 4,000 

Total of all arms 59,900 

meade's strength. 

The "consolidated morning report" of the Army of the Po- 
tomac shows beyond all dispute that, after deducting all non- 
combatants of every description, General Meade had "present 
for duty equipped" {actual fighting men) at Gettysburg at least — 

Infantry S2.20S 

Artillery 7,192 

Cavalry 12,000 

Total 101,400 


The returns show that when Lee moved to attack Grant in the 
Wilderness, he had less than 64,000 men of all arms, while 
General Grant had with him 141,160 men of all arms. 

General Lee received a total of 14,400 reinforcements from the 
Wilderness to Cold Harbor, making the aggregate force which 
he led 78,400; while General Grant received reinforcements 
which swelled his aggregate from the Rapidan to the James to 
192,160 men. 



Just before the evacuation of Petersburg, General Lee had 
(according to his own statement) but 33,000 muskets with which 
to defend a line over thirty miles in length. The losses at Five 
Forks and in the trenches were heavy, so that when he withdrew 
his army from the lines on the night of the 2d of April, he had 
not over twenty thousand muskets available. 

He surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse to the mighty 
hosts by which he was surrounded 7,800 men with muskets in 
their hands. 

The figures given above make the most eloquent eulogy that 
can be pronounced on our heroic army and its matchless leader. 



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